Faith, Not Works


Lesson 8 of Heart of a Woman was such an encouragement to me! It helped me to comprehend just what “Faith apart from works is dead” means. I didn’t understand just how wrong I was looking at this all. My goodness, I didn’t realize just how much of my thinking was truly geared towards earning favor by works. Especially if I added my faith to these works, I know I must be doing right! God will absolutely “bless” this. (This was my thinking for a long time). When I realized that we would be discussing this Scripture I was kind of dreading it. It was a topic I could never understand fully because it was hard to break my thinking free from what I have “known” for years. (Trying to do this in my strength never helped).

I began to pray that during this lesson the Lord would give me such clarity regarding this. I saw just how religious and legalistic my thinking had been. I was hungry for the truth about how my faith and works collide in my relationship with Christ. I found so much joy in reading about Moses and Joshua, and how it was faith in God and in His power “not in their own ability, not in their own ways, and not in their own righteousness–that these men carried out God’s plan for their lives….”

The Holy Spirit revealed just how much I was trying to control and place my hands on God’s plan for my life. I never knew just how little I asked Him to have His way with my life. Maybe I thought that He couldn’t work in me until I fixed my own sin (WRONG), or maybe I wasn’t doing something right. I would try to do every good thing and incorporate my faith in everything so God would know that my faith was not “dead.” If I said a bad word, got angry with someone, or thought out of line, then I would have to start all over again in order to please Him. How exhausting that is! Even discouraging at times.

I love when Lesson 8 goes on to say: “In that hour of need when we are feeling overcome by our feelings or our circumstances, when you feel anger, or pain, remember that it is no longer you who live but Christ who lives within you. Your flesh no longer has power to control you. It may feel like it does, but it’s just an illusion. In the midst of that hour, all you see is your fear, your anger, or your frustration; you may not be able to see Christ in you at all. You may not be able to feel Christ in you at all. But faith is in the unseen! So believe in what you cannot ‘see’…”

I just had to share because I am so thankful to have this clarity. I am so grateful that I understand nothing in my human capabilities can do anything to save me. Christ paid my ransom! He paid the debt I owed for my sin. That is so amazing! We can all take a breath now. I mean let me tell you, I am by no means even close to being perfect! But it is great to know that there is no one to impress. My focus should be on showing my love to Christ through obedience to the Word of God.

I don’t want to just say, “Jesus, I believe” with this mouth, but I want the fruit that I bear to be evidence of this faith. I now understand that it is not my works that will save me, but His saving grace. The works will just be evidence of this change in my heart. By my works I am not redeemed! I can’t express this enough. I struggled for so long with this concept! I am redeemed and the works will just be evidence that you can see of my genuine belief in Christ Jesus. I love this Scripture and now I can understand and rejoice in it: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).

My prayer is that from this moment on He would take control of my life! As we continue in this study, may our hearts be drastically and forever transformed by our faith in Christ Jesus. I am going to commit to memory the following Scripture. In times when I feel that I am failing, I will repeat this to myself: “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules” (Ezek. 36:26-27). I will remind myself that He lives in me. I am walking around with Christ on the inside; this alone makes me want to think about everything I say, do, and set my thoughts upon. Just think! The same power the rose Christ from the grave is the same power that has taken up permanent residence in your heart. Be strong in the Lord, and diligent in this heart work. Let God have His way, and be encouraged. I can’t wait to see what He has in store.

All for His Glory

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