I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, “Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I’ll handle the works department.” Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove. James 2:18 MSG
In my mind, I see it like this….
A well networked faith system at the roots, growing up through the thick nourishing soil of Jesus, and blossoming into a full leafy tree of works.
Close your eyes.
Do you see it?
Do you see the tiny fibers stretching far beyond and beneath their comfort zone? Wiggling and pushing as they gather up the splendor of what Jesus-soil has to offer. The Holy soak then delivered into the trunk of the tree. Steadily and stealthily pushing onward yet pressed hard under the soil of righteous obedience. Rising…but glouriously enveloped in Jesus.
Its’ only in obedience that the beauty of what is underneath can meet fruition. As it rises, a magnetic – yet gentle – force pulls it far beyond it’s greatest expectations. The tiny fiber of a root turns into a marvelous tree stretching high into the sky. Now extended high above it’s critics reach.
Can you see it my friend?
This is you.
This is me.
That is what we have the capacity to be.
Oaks of righteousness…planted for the display of his splendor.
But the best of faith rooted intentions often experience a fleshy death at the hand of anxiety. Fear is where faith comes to die. If faith is confident expectation that God will do what He said He would do, fear is confident hopelessness that God never wanted to do anything good in the first place.
That while you may be able to pray brave prayers from the safety of your bedcovers, God never created you nor will He provide you with what is necessary to go from thought to action.
Fear feels like your feet hitting the floor and almost immediately…peace sucking vengeance seeking demons of the past and the present tie your shoes together and block the way. Instead of moving up into Jesus, our roots start to reach further down into the furrows of our humanity – gathering nothing but information from our past shame and sin. And there we sit…for hours…days…weeks…years sometimes…stagnant.
…having a form of godliness, but denying it’s power…2 Timothy 3:5
Sweet friend this cannot be.
In these times like these we cannot let it be.
The moments of sheltering strength deep beneath the blankets of “someone else will do it” are over. The world doesn’t need a ground full of root systems growing towards the center of depraved humanity. It needs trees that will stand up and stretch out high towards the one true God. Our world needs Christians that aren’t afraid to say the reason I can stand and sustain is because of Jesus. Christians that aren’t afraid to give Him the praise…the honor…and the glory in loud and extravagant ways.
Faith…Jesus…Works…they grow together. They need to be together. They belong together. They are His presence realized in a shallow body of nothing but dirty broken cells and messes.
This is beauty from ashes.
This is redemption.
This is salvation.
This is the love our world craves and so desperately needs.
Swell this earth thick with your favor.