UV 2854/10000 Balancing Faith and Good Works
This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men
Titus 3 v 8
Belief in God is manifested to others by a lifestyle of good deeds. We are expected and called to do things that are excellent and profitable to all people and not just beneficial for us. Faith is the root while good deeds or works are the fruit. Our thoughts and attitudes are the sap that turns into the fruit of good deeds. St James emphasized that faith without good deeds is dead, recalling how Jesus caused a fruitless fig tree to perish when He found it without fruit. We are created not to be mere consumers of happiness for our own sake but producers and distributors of happiness. We are to satisfy the needs, the hunger and thirst of people we come in contact with on a daily basis. Our good deeds then become the evidence or testimony of our faith. Faith can be blind but cannot be barren.
If faith is the horse, good works are the cart. Faith is the horse power for the traction of a good life that makes faith in God attractive to others. One cannot and should not put the cart before the horse. But the horse is of limited use unless it draws a cart. Good works cannot save a man but faith followed by good works, sound speech, strong character has immense evidentiary value for the love of God. It is the love of God that sparks good deeds in human beings. It is to reflect His light and love to our neighbours that we are encouraged to pursue a life full of good deeds. Good works then are the aroma of faith in Christ.
We should aim to increase our usefulness to the kingdom of God, to fellow believers, to non believers. In order to do so, we need to give of our time, talent and treasure. But the Lord is most concerned that we give our temperament to Him to mould and shape with the power and influence of the Holy Spirit so that discordant notes are not heard in the orchestra of faith. While the act of belief in God or faith does not require much effort or diligence and focus, our follow through in our lives requires immense degree of focus and diligence, day after day, moment after moment.
Prateep V Philip