Saturday, July 5, 2014

Faith Walking

We walked around the lake in the afternoon sun and breeze this week, blisters forming as I tried to keep up with her (smiley face).


"I don't know if I should tell you this," my dear friend hesitated. Encouraged, she continued, "I have hope for my kids because of yours." And I laughed.  Our children are real children. When they were younger, I lost track of daily corrections, "visits," and Bible verses. My prayers were more jibberish mumbo-jumbo than insightful, listen-and-weep petitions.

As we walked, I threw my hands in air, "Praise the Lord!" Because she and I--and perhaps you--know that a parent has limited influence and control over the choices our children make. I remember saying to a little one who sat on the edge of our bed, avoiding my eyes, "Sweetheart, I can't make you obey. You are the boss of you. My job is to make rules and consequences that help you do what's right, because I'm the mom. My job is to obey God and your job is to obey me. If I didn't love you, I wouldn't care if you obeyed or not. But because I love you, I will help you want to obey by making and keeping consequences."

And as my friend and I walked around the lake, I encouraged her that by disciplining our children, we are not creating an outcome, we are simply walking by faith--like Abraham and the Israelites of old. They offered sacrifices day after day, week after week, year after year but those sacrifices could not effectively remove sin (Hebrews 10:11). It was their faith that pleased God. Because of their faith, He forgave their sin and replaced it with Jesus' righteousness (Hebrews 10:12, Romans 4:2-3, 1 Corinthians 5:21). In the same way, as we love and discipline our children without seeing change or immediate results, we are trusting God in faith, asking Him humbly to honor our efforts and obedience.

We finished our walk around the lake, only to return home and continue the longer, callous-producing walk of faith.

And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”
If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. (Hebrews 12:5-12).

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:14-26)



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