Love is sacrificial! Love is difficult. It’s hard for us to get it right and just about the time we think we know how to do it, we find that most of our love is intermittent.
The Apostle Paul said, “the thing that counts is faith, working through love.”
His idea of what counts doesn’t jive with the metrics of American culture. What counts for most people is
- the amount of money in the bank
- the size of one’s salary
- education and degrees
- the number of things we have
- how nice our car is
- how big or beautiful our home is
…and one could go on.
In Paul’s day, what mattered most was how religious a person was, what nationality they were, and whether or not they could claim the right birth mark. Sounds crazy, but birth marks were a big deal, particularly the one that identified you as being religiously pure (Circumcision).
Paul wanted to be clear. Circumcision or un-circumcision was not what counted. Faith working itself out in love was and is what counts.
Faith matters… It’s the foundation of everything!
The Bible refers to three kinds of faith.
- Dead Faith (James 2:17) – it’s a faith with no muscle. It’s all talk and no action. It’s in the head, but lacks the heart. It can boast big words, sing doctrinal truth, argue every point, articulate every dot and tittle. But it has no flesh.
- Demonic Faith (James 2:19) – a faith that is a real as any other kind of faith, but is evil to the core. It’s selfish faith. It’s belief without moral grounding. It’s recognition without repentance. It’s egotistical, self-absorbed, self-indulgent, and self-centered.
- Dynamic Faith (Galatians 5:6) – It’s a faith with legs. It lives by loving in tangible ways. It has hands and feet. It’s always on the move looking for an opportunity.
Dynamic faith has energy. Like the atoms and molecules that make up our world, it’s always in motion. There’s nothing inactive about it.
It’s the kind of faith that causes a David (small, but active) to stand up to a Goliath (Bully). It’s the kind of faith that causes the well-off to notice the left out and do something about it.
It’s the kind of faith that made a difference in my life when I was a vulnerable young man. I experienced faith embodied by love when my youth pastor started inviting me over 2-3 times a week for dinner. I became a member of the family. I got to eat dinner, enjoy good conversation, and watch a lot of John Wayne movies. The most impacting thing was getting to see what following Jesus looks like around the dinner table, washing dishes, putting kids to bed, and even watching old western flicks.
It’s the kind of faith I see when people give portions of their income to feed the hungry and provide clean water, clothing, and shelter to those in need. It’s the kind of faith I see when Sunday School teachers give part of their morning away to hang out with kids and teach them about Jesus, even though they worked hard all week long, and could easily choose to sleep in.
It’s the only thing that matters – faith working itself out in love. (Galatians 5:6)
Is your faith, the kind of faith that has legs under it?