I take this to be a measure of my faith in the Trinity that, without regard to danger, I make known God's gift and the eternal comfort He provides: that I spread God's name everywhere dutifully and without fear...
- Patrick, Confession (British, 5th century)
For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
- James 2.26
Believers are not saved by works, but unto them (Eph. 2.10). Without the works appropriate to saving faith, we can't really be sure that our faith is genuine. Merely "believing" that we're saved, or "feeling" as if that were so is not enough. Nor are knowing Christian doctrine or going to church. The writer of Hebrews indicates that the "things that belong to salvation" are those works of love that we show toward others (Heb. 6.9, 10). Jesus said that the kind of fruit that comes out in our lives will tell just what kind of "tree" we truly are (Matt. 7.20) - whether or not we really know Him.
Patrick measured his own faith in terms of his relentless activity in the Gospel - preaching, teaching, working for the freedom of slaves, helping people learn how to read, standing up against injustice. All these are part and parcel of the Gospel. The Gospel heralds a new reality - the Kingdom of God - and the citizens of the Kingdom, who have embraced that Gospel, bring that new reality into being, on earth as it is in heaven, by their daily words and deeds.
This is a very intentional way of living. Bearing Kingdom fruit in our lives doesn't just "happen." We have to prepare for it daily, through reading and study of God's Word, and in prayer. And we have to set our minds to follow the way of Jesus into every arena, relationship, role, and responsibility of our lives. Then we will be able to obey in the moment-by-moment details of our lives, so that the light of Christ shines through us into our Personal Mission Field.
How do you measure the reality of your faith? Is it merely a subjective assurance that keeps you believing you are a Christian? Or is there evidence in the way you live - your everyday words and deeds? Paul exhorted the Christians of Corinth to "examine" themselves, to see whether or not they really were believers (2 Cor. 13.5). When the people in our life spheres "examine" us, do they see more evidence of Christ-centeredness or of self-centeredness?
Each of us needs to be able to know what the salvation of Jesus should look like as it comes to expression in our lives. How shall we love the people around us? How can we make the most of each opportunity to engage a conversation about Christ? What must I do in order to keep bringing holiness to completion in my life (2 Cor. 7.1).
These are not incidental questions, beloved, but crucial. We should not deceive ourselves into thinking we really have saving faith unless we are able to measure that faith in meaningful ways. Patrick understood that - as did Jesus, Paul, James, and all the Apostles. How do you measure your own faith? And is the measure you use the same as what the Lord uses?
The course, Spiritual Maturity 1: Revival, is designed to give you the perspective, tools, and encouragement you need to know greater progress in your walk with the Lord. Here you'll learn how to assess your spiritual growth and to plan for greater growth in the days to come. We'll show you how to begin working your Personal Mission Field for the cause of the Gospel. You'll read Patrick and Columbanus, Jonathan Edwards and Martin Luther. There is no tuition fee for this and most of the materials you need are free as well.
So what's keeping you from getting on the path of real and continuous growth in the Lord? Why not register for Spiritual Maturity 1: Revival today?
T. M. Moore, Principal