Faith vs. Works

Good morning. It is Friday, July 10, 2015. We made to Friday.

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is nobbler. This is an old English word that has several meanings, beginning with “A person that hits; something used for hitting.” In historical usage, it was “A person who strikes or hits; spec. one formerly employed to strike inattentive members of a church congregation with a rod.” In slang usage, it can mean “A small quantity of alcoholic drink. Also: a small glass or container for alcoholic drink.” It can also mean “A dishonest person, a swindler; a pickpocket.”

Today is, once again, Teddy Bear Picnic Day. I guess if you’re a kid with a teddy bear, it is more likely to be possible on a Friday, since you are not in school right now. But for me, I have to work, so no teddy bear picnics for me today. 😦

Christi wound up not making Huddle last night, as she got off work late and had a terrible headache. We spent the evening relaxing, and she feels better this morning. I didn’t get any practice in, either. Perhaps I will play some, this evening, as it will be one week since I have practiced or played. I realize that no one in the community band is expecting virtuosity from me, but I still would like to get my chops back to at least close to where they were 20-30 years ago.

Today being Friday, I may have to work late, though, as I seem to be stuck in a job where that happens almost every Friday. I know. At least I have a job, right?

As far as I know, there is nothing special going on this weekend. I think Stephanie has a “horse outing” scheduled with our friends from church.

Oh, yes. In exactly three months from today, we fly to Cancun and Playa del Carmen!

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Oh, that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways!
I would soon subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes.
Those who hate the LORD would cringe toward him, and their fate would last forever.
But he would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.

Psalm 81:13-16

(From Solid Joys)

On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’
Matthew 7:22

Today’s reading is “Proud Work vs. Humble Faith.”

What is the difference between the heart of faith and the heart of works?

“The heart of works gets satisfaction from the ego-boost of accomplishing something in its own power.” Impossible-seeming physical activities (Spartan race, anyone?), extra responsibilities at work, fasting for a week, all done in the spirit of self-satisfaction, conquering a challenge, these things define a heart that is oriented around works. This heart has a love of independence and self-direction, and “sets out to prove its superiority through self-denial, courage, and personal greatness.” This person is assertive, autonomous, and triumphant.

There is a radical difference in the heart of faith, although its desires are no less “strong as it looks to the future. But what it desires is the fullest satisfaction of experiencing all that God is for us in Jesus.” The heart of faith takes great joy in seeing God overcome an obstacle. The works heart glorifies self, while the faith heart rejoices to see God glorified.

In reality, there is a fine line of difference between these tow, and often, we cannot see the difference, ourselves. It is possible to be overly judgmental toward people, guessing where their hearts are, but we honestly don’t know, unless they express it, themselves.

“In its religious form, works accepts the challenge of morality, conquers its obstacles through great exertion, and offers the victory to God as a payment for his approval and recompense. Faith, too, accepts the challenge of morality, but only as an occasion to become the instrument of God’s power. And when the victory comes, faith rejoices that all the glory and thanks belong to God.”

I believe this is an important reading for us to ponder. Where is my heart? I tend to shy away from great challenges that would prove my superiority, opting instead for quiet, behind-the-scenes exertions, such as intercessory prayer. But that doesn’t mean my heart is totally faith-oriented either. I find myself longing for encouraging words of affirmation from people, and nave to fight the urge to be upset when I’m not recognized for something. I dare say that most of us, if we are honest, fight this battle daily, the battle between having a heart of works and a heart of faith.

Father, I pray for my heart to be dominated by faith rather than works. May the goal of my life be to glorify you and not draw attention to myself. May my prayers be lifted up to you in quiet confidence that you hear, and that your heart’s desire is that your name be lifted high and glorified. Glorify your name, O Lord, in all the earth! I long to see your name hallowed by all people, in all the earth. May I be an instrument of your grace and mercy, as I pray for your will to be done, on earth, as in heaven. May your Kingdom come, Lord!

I pray for this day, that our trip to work be safe and smooth. May our work day be smooth, as well, and I pray that we not have to work late, this evening. Your will be done, though. I pray for Christi’s headache, that it would bother her today. I pray for Stephanie, that you would show your great love to her today. May you strengthen Rachel to do whatever she needs to do to get finished with her Master’s program and move on to what she really wants to do in life. I pray, also, for Justin, that you would empower him to do whatever he needs to do. Encourage my mother, today, in whatever she finds herself doing, as well.

Your grace is truly sufficient, Lord, in all things.

Faith vs. works . . . it’s a daily battle. May faith win out, every time.

Grace and peace, friends.

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