If you’re going to work hard at something, then you’d better make sure it’s worth doing. Because hard work isn’t easy, and you need to make sure that the prize is worth the pain.
At its most basic, something is only worth living for if it’s worth dying for. And right there lies the problem with half-hearted faith.
‘Convenience Christianity’ is of no use to you, your church or the Lord. In fact, he makes it plain that he’d sooner we were stone cold rather than lukewarm in our faith.
And the kind of faith we’re talking about here is not some sort of esoteric fuzzy feeling that sends shivers up and down your spine. This is real world stuff – you see, it’s not so much a matter of what we believe as what we do about what we believe that counts.
“Faith is an act,” is what that great Pentecostal Smith Wigglesworth used to say, or so I am told. Certainly it is what the hugely successful evangelist Reinhard Bonnke said. And it is clearly the message of the Bible, for Abraham believed God and received the promise, but he was considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar. You see, his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did (James 3).
The hope of our nation
And so to us today: if we believe that the gospel is the hope of our nation, then we must make every effort to take it to our nation. If we believe God has called us, then we must certainly believe that he will equip us with everything we need to do the task. It really is that obvious: we must do what we believe God has called us to do.
To say we believe the Bible, but not to read it proves that our belief has only got to the mental assent stage. It is not being made complete by our actions.
To say that God answers prayer but then give up when things don’t work out the way we wanted can mean only one thing: we believe in our heads, but that is where it stops. And the Lord is not able to reward us with the answer, because we have long since moved on.
But possibly the area where our faith is most easily put to the test is in our finances. We believe that the Lord owns the cattle on a thousand hills, but we grow fearful when we are relying on him to slaughter one for tea tonight! And rightly so, for it would be foolish to go looking for difficulties. But one about life is sure: you don’t need to live very long before trouble will come and find you!
And that is when we find out what our faith is made of. There will be months when the temptation is very strong, but if we do pay our tithes when the going is tough, we are guaranteed the reward. Our faith and our deeds are acting together – to be a blessing and to be blessed.