“Do you love me?” she asked. He replied, “I told you I did when I married you! And if that ever changes, I’ll let you know.”
We’d be astonished to hear such a conversation! Why? Because real love doesn’t express itself once. It keeps on loving and continually expresses itself in ever deeper ways. It may be bold and demonstrative or it may be gentle and quiet, but it is never passive. Real love is always active.
That is how faith should be also. Real faith is active.
That was evident in the life of Philemon. Paul says, “I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers because I hear about your faith…and your love.” (Philemon vs 4) Philemon lived a “legacy life” that positively impacted others. There was something genuine and famous about the way he lived. Love and faith were the foundation upon which his reputation was built. We don’t know if he was a prominent leader or businessman. We don’t know if he had a great memory for sports trivia or if he was skilled with his hands. We don’t know if his lawn was always pristine and well-kept, whether he drove the latest model of mule and cart, or if he had a large account at The First Bank of Jordan. But we know he was known for his faith and love. Like a ripple that continued spread across the water, his faith touched and refreshed the hearts of others in his path. (V 7) Isn’t that the legacy you desire most?
We are called to be active in sharing our faith. It is our path to gaining real understanding of what it means to be Christian. Sharing real faith refreshes the hearts of others. And it’s a needed reminder to us of what we believe, to whom we belong, and what our purpose is this very day.
“Faith works” means it perseveres, it carries on, it doesn’t give up. Real faith is actively applied to the efforts and struggles of our day. We approach problems and trials, suffering and woes, doubts and fears, all through the working of our faith.
“Faith works” also means it solves problems, it succeeds, it wins, it is functional. When faith is placed in a Mighty God, faith becomes mighty.
And faith brings understanding. In fact, that was Paul’s prayer for his friend, “that you may be active in sharing your faith so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” (V 6) And the understanding of all we have in Christ leads us to love others as he loves them.
Real faith works and is active. It impacts others when it is expressed in love. In fact, faith expressing itself in love is the only thing that ultimately matters. (Galatians 5:6) Real faith isn’t obnoxious or hurtful. It doesn’t judge. (That is God’s job.) But it isn’t kept to itself. Real faith is active and loving.
How would you describe your faith? How would others describe it? Is it sedentary like the one who professed their love for another and decided to marry, but never acted on that love? Or is it a faith that is actively played out throughout the course of every day? Do you keep your faith to yourself in a way that others would be surprised to learn that you are a Christian? Or is it evident to all because your faith works?
Live a legacy life marked by an active faith that works. Be active in sharing your faith in a winsome and genuine way so that you gain a full understanding of all you have in Jesus.