Christ is the good that is found in me, not my attempts to do right, correct what I find wrong or even correct what I think Jesus finds wrong.
Incomplete with trials in my life revolving around simply feeling inadequate to serve God, I began to study the scriptures, sometimes standing up and sometimes sitting down, to find the symbiotic relationship between Faith and Works. In doing so I became impatient by the scriptures I read and hastened my need to look for work for my faith as I felt I was not doing enough. I asked my wise friend Amos, whom God works constantly through in love and service, “What must I work in to show my faith”.
“IF you have true faith then you will have works” he replied and we discussed further about trusting God.
I thought longer about a works based faith and how it differed than faith based works. While on assignment for the Wall Street Journal I listened to a pastor ask members of his community while he handed out a turkey meal to them why they think God was going to let them into heaven.
Each person answered “because I am a good person and I believe in Jesus”. Some said I am mostly a good person, some stated I used to be worse. The pastor at Mack Ave and I discussed how we were surprised that so many people had a faith that did not declare that we were fallen and Christ was the good, which is what the bible preaches. The correct answer we both believe Jesus was preaching was that you can not be good enough to get into heaven, but believe in me and you will enter.
Jesus also clearly says that we will have to give an account of what we have done on this world when we die and come to him. It also clearly says in the bible that anything we do apart from God will fade away. Lastly the Bible clearly states that God has work for us to do. So, putting that together, the only offering we will be able to show Jesus are to see if the works he had planned for us were done by us. That to me takes a lot of pressure off of my insane drive to succeed, commonly fueled when not thinking in the Spirit by impatience and comparison, and become the best that I can become for my self.
For long now I can relate less with the fact that Jesus makes us white as snow as he separates us from our sins and more to the separation I have from God because of the natural filth and distance that comes with guilt and making everything right until you are always the reason things anything goes wrong.
I am not one for study books, however, Amos gave me a book called Gospel Transformation. It has blown my mind as it has equipped me. I was on a daily self examination for about 4 months when I left for Ukraine and did not bring the book with me. In Ukraine my fellow voyagers called me Pastor as the words and love of the Lord flowed from me by his strength. Three months later I have barely done a page but tonight I got back into it. The page was on evaluating the meanings of Flesh in key scriptures.
In this brief study I found my answer to the relationship between works and faith. In the Mosaic Law a list of what was good was constantly studied but due to mans fallen status, simply living in the flesh caused the Law not to carry the power to free a man from sin. What the Law could not do, God sent his son Jesus to be an offering so that through his death we, sinners, can have life and life, freedom, in the truest sense.
My freedom is Christ at work in me. I can not go by my personal list or conscience of what is good for me or others OR my personal list or conscience of what is good for my faith. I must rely totally on the Spirit, whom Jesus sent as a counselor, to reveal to us what God wants us to do. IT is a popular Christianese term to say something like, “Well I don’t believe that God is going to say to you each step you take and when to take it.” In defense to our, my, fallen nature, I agree and I believe God does in the way of the Spirit guiding us which most of all of us take for granted as our own sightless barely guided “but in faith” steps. Which actually are very guided and very planned, if you are one whom God calls Righteous.
Don’t push people away because of their uninvolved life with Christ for it is most likely your impatience that fuels your disgusted, seemingly betrayed notion and feeling that you should be at a distance. Any righteousness in your life is not because of you so lower yourself and serve your out of the faith by choice friends just as much or more than your in the faith friends alike. Doing so will prove to yourself and to God that you don’t serve according to whom you favor but you serve according to whom Jesus died for; sinners. It is not you that searches but the Spirit in you.
A huge cargo ship is silently creeping down the Detroit river. It looks like a hotel just drifting by with the 5 stories of lights.