Sunday, March 09, 2008

Attitude and Action

The christian faith can be challenging. It isn’t just about believing. If you believe, but it doesn’t make a difference in your life, then your belief is in vain. For our faith to be real, we must be able to see change in our lives. Our faith will be evident in our attitudes and our actions.

As the apostle James tells us in James 2:14-18, “What good is it my brothers and sisters, if you say that you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill;’ and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So, faith by itself, if it has no works is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.”

When our inner garden is right with God, when our spirit is being tended to and is healthy, we will see fruit in our lives; the fruit that the apostle Paul talks about in Galatians 5:22 when he talks about the fruit of the Spirit. He says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control…” Now this doesn’t mean that these characteristics are perfectly at use in your life at all times. But it does mean that you should be growing in each of these areas, and that you should be working to better yourself in each of these areas!

Isn’t this why Jesus was frustrated with the disciples at the garden of Gethsemene. Jesus expected the disciples at this point in their training to be able to support Him with prayer and encouragement. Jesus expected them to be willing to sacrifice some for Him. But instead they kept falling asleep. Did this mean the disciples were failures? No, it meant that they still had a lot of growing to do. But they did have the right attitude, even if they didn’t have the right actions at the time.

Attitude and action go hand in hand. When we read God’s word, it affects our attitude. Because we begin to have a new attitude, we then seek to put our actions in line with the teaching of God. From exercises like this, we can come to new and wonderful conclusions because the word of God is now entering our private world and not just our mind. And because we have fixed our attention upon God’s word, we can be sure that the Holy Spirit will guide our reflective and meditative thoughts.