When God Shows Off | Pt.2
My first blog post – written a little over a year ago – was entitled, “When God Shows Off”. The premise was simple: we ought to live our lives expecting God to do extraordinary things.
I argued that we become increasingly less inclined to believe God would be willing, and eager, to do “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think“, due to our proclivity to allow the routine and monotony of our lives to infiltrate the manner in which we view Him.
The summit of my post asserted that God is not shaken or intimidated by the size of our needs or dreams, for if He was, he’d cease to be God. Ultimately, He is in the business of showing off. He takes delight in moving the seemingly immovable mountains in our lives. His very nature is to do, “exceeding abundantly above”.
Thus, our expectation of Him – in all situations – should be nothing less.
Two Sides to Every Coin
Here’s the thing though, God doing “exceeding abundantly above” is only one side of the coin. Granted, it’s the more glamorous side – but still only one side.
The other side is far less colorful. The reason, you ask?
Because it pertains to work.
Faith Without Works is…?
James 21: 14-17 (NLT) pulls no punches. He writes:
14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
I love how ruthless James is in this passage of scripture. He’s essentially saying, “put your money where your mouth is”. The message is pushy, confrontational – and almost uncomfortable.
However, the principle is sound.
The Balancing Act
Should we believe God can (and will) do far above anything that we can think or imagine in our lives? Absolutely.
But our faith in Him should not to be misconstrued as an excuse for laziness.
- We can’t rightfully believe God for a promotion in our jobs, yet be terrible employees.
- We can’t rightfully ask God for greater financial provisions, yet mismanage the finances we currently have.
- We can’t rightfully believe God to restore a relationship, yet make no effort to seek forgiveness and reconciliation.
Here’s a good one:
- We can’t ask God to help us bring others to Him, yet live our lives constantly criticizing and marginalizing those outside of the faith.
It’s a balancing act. We are called to believe God – but to follow up our words with action, as well. For if we simply spout out a slew of faith filled affirmations, yet remain lazy and stagnant, we’ve done nothing but waste our breath, and feed into the image of the “believer“ that “talk’s the talk”, but doesn’t “walk the walk”.
In a prior post entitled, “Does Prayer Actually Work“, I made the case that “Prayers aren’t quarters, and God isn’t a gum ball machine”.
Clever – I know.
But don’t we have the tendency to ask God to intervene in a situation, while simultaneously forgetting to take action of our own? I know I do.
We pray these elaborate prayers, begging and pleading God to move heaven and earth, all the while kicking back and waiting for our order, as if He’s some cosmic delivery man.
That isn’t to say that there aren’t situations in our life where all we can do is pray and wait patiently – because there are. I’m just specifically referring to the times in which we pray, believe, and declare – while neglecting the potential work in front of us.
Hand in Hand
It’s funny, I’ve gotten flak in the past for my outlook on prayer and God’s blessings. I’ve been told it toes the lines of “prosperity preaching”, and the “health and wealth” gospel.
To be clear, I’m not condoning some sort of “name it, and claim it” ideology. I’m instead encouraging the same kind faith approach that David took against Goliath. That being, believing God could smite his enemy – while actively swinging his sling shot.
In one hand is our faith. In the other is our actions.
Let’s not approach God with one and not the other. For if we truly want to see Him “show off”- both must work hand in hand.