My memory verse for this week:
"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me - just as The Father knows me and I know the Father - and I lay down my life for the sheep." -- John 10:14-15
NTC Day 51
John11-12 and James 1-3
Putting your faith into action brings freedom...freedom to be what you were created for. How many of us know what we were created for? Wouldn't that be wonderful...to KNOW what God created us for and then actually BECOME that? It does sound wonderful, but how do we attain that freedom?
Today's readings were all about putting faith into action. In John 11, Jesus' friend Lazarus is sick and his sisters, Mary and Martha, send news to Jesus because they knew that Jesus COULD help him. They were putting their faith in Jesus into action to save their brother. (By the way...I didn't realize that this Mary was the woman who washed the feet of Jesus with her tears and her hair AND the Mary who sat at Jesus' feet and listened to his teachings while Martha prepared the meal! She REALLY put her faith into action--first hand!)
Jesus, who knew who he was and why he was here, put his faith in his Father God into action by bringing Lazarus back to life. He knew that this would be another sign that would help people believe in him.
Many did see and were moved to become followers of Christ. But, many who saw, were moved to believe, but were too afraid to put their faith into action. They were afraid of being put out of the synagogue by the Jewish leaders opposing Christ.
And...those Jewish leaders...they all had seen and heard of the miraculous signs Jesus had performed but they refused to believe he was God. God blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts to the miracles and to the freedom of faith + action. Not that they didn't have a choice...they could have believed, but when they didn't, God used their disbelief to move his plan forward. Had there been no opposition to Jesus, he wouldn't have had to suffer and die and we would not have freedom. It was all part of God's plan.
But we don't have the opportunity to see the miracles of Jesus as they did then, right? Or do we? When we read God's word and read about what Jesus did while here on earth, we find that our eyes are opened to see miracles all around us. Jesus is at work here on earth today! We just have to open our eyes and our hearts to see it!
And what about that freedom we were talking about? How do we gain that? James says that faith without works is dead. That doesn't mean that we can work our way into heaven. It simply means we need to put our faith to work to SHOW OTHERS our faith! Our faith is evidenced by what we do with it. When we put it to work, following the laws and guidance given to us by God, we will be showing others what faith in God looks like, and we fill find that freedom to be what God created us for! It sounds so simple...and...thank God, it is!