Mar 13, 2009

40 day journey: progress or regress?

I just got done reading a great article by a buddy of mine that spoke quite frankly about secret struggles many men deal with in the area of porn addiction. He writes:

If it's so common, why are so many Christians afraid to talk about it, especially in ministry? Maybe because our wives don't understand it. You need the Lord in every area of life, and you need other trusted men in your life. You cannot do it alone.

Maybe because we're too ashamed. Maybe because we're afraid of what others will think. Men, we must talk about it. It's a normal struggle. You're not weird.
It's a great point he makes, and it got me thinking about another conversation I had with someone today about this 40 Day Journey. We chatted about how "small victories" can actually be large victories... from the outside looking in it may seem like we "should" be doing more, but from the inside out we know what looks like 65% is actually 100%.

It's hard to measure whether our faith is growing - much like a kid has a hard time tracking their growth without those notches on a wall.

So what exactly are those notches when it comes to Christianity?

Some people think that we are saved because our works line up with Jesus... we ask "What would Jesus do?" and if we do that, then we "must" be on track.

Sounds good and it sells bracelets, but this is not true.

We are saved through faith in Jesus Christ, made possible by His grace that overflows with pure holiness.

But, as with any belief one holds, works... action... must follow as evidence of that faith.

Take for instance someone who can't wake themselves in the morning on their own... which is most of us. This is why you set your alarm clock at night because you have faith that tomorrow is coming and you want to wake up at a certain time.

Granted, you can set your alarm clock out of empty habit or guilted instruction, but if you don’t really believe tomorrow is coming and you don’t want to wake up at a certain time, it’s meaningless. You’re just doing it to do it.

On the other hand, if you have faith that tomorrow is coming and you want to wake up at a certain time, it is necessary to set your alarm clock. Without that work of setting your alarm clock, your faith is, in essence, dead. (James 2)

So perhaps the "notch" of how you're doing is less about faith or works and more about "faith and works." We can't shout "GRACE! GRACE!" nor can we shout "PROVE IT! PROVE IT!" - we actually shout nothing... we instead listen to Jesus shouting our names, and then we let our lives respond with full force.

That's the order. Don't mix it up... and don't forget either.

No other notches exist.
As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. (James 2:26)

No comments: