We used to attend a Reform Synagogue on Friday evenings when we lived in Nashville. There was a song that we sang often during the service, and then I found it in the prayer book:
“PRAY AS IF everything depended on God.
Act as if everything depended on you.”
A Reform Siddur
As I was reflecting on my week, I thought of this song. It started “playing” in my head. Then I thought of verses about faith and works. God wants us to have FAITH and that is the most important. However, He definitely wants us to “act as if everything depends on us.”
God is in charge of everything! He created it all. He desires for everything to worship Him and TRUST Him. When we pray, we truly are DEPENDING on Him. He KNOWS that we put our FAITH in HIM.
Because we put our TRUST in HIM, we should DESIRE to ACT like Him. Here are a few verses that should inspire us to understand this concept of faith and actions:
Hebrews 11:6 And without trusting, it is impossible to be well pleasing to God, because whoever approaches him must trust that he does exist and that he becomes a Rewarder to those who seek him out. (CJB)
Ephesians 2:8 For you have been delivered by grace through trusting, and even this is not your accomplishment but God’s gift. (CJB)
Romans 3:28 Therefore, we hold the view that a person comes to be considered righteous by God on the ground of trusting, which has nothing to do with legalistic observance of Torah commands. (CJB)
(I encourage you to understand this verse based on the Complete Jewish Bible because as you can see it has nothing to do with “law.”)
All of these verses help us see that everything is based on FAITH and TRUST in God. We know that this is the ONLY way to receive God’s gift of eternal LIFE.
James chapter 2 is the one that can cause some controversy because it seems to say in verse 24:
You see that a person is declared righteous because of actions and not because of faith alone. (CJB)
If we read earlier in the chapter from verses 12-17 we see that what is really taught is that Torah brings FREEDOM. Following what Adonai taught us should help us LIVE like He wants us too. If we don’t ACT like He taught us, than why would people believe that HE actually lives?
Keep speaking and acting like people who will be judged by a Torah which gives freedom. For judgment will be without mercy toward one who doesn’t show mercy; but mercy wins out over judgment. What good is it, my brothers, if someone claims to have faith but has no actions to prove it? Is such “faith” able to save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food, and someone says to him, “Shalom! Keep warm and eat hearty!” without giving him what he needs, what good does it do? Thus, faith by itself, unaccompanied by actions, is dead. (CJB)
I understand that this topic can get controversial. My desire is that today we “keep it simple” and stop to think about how we act. May we all realize that what we DO is important. We need to completely depend on God, but we also should make sure our actions are in line with His desires.
Will you take the time today to “Act as if the world depended on you?” Will you share HIS love, grace and mercy with those you meet along the way? Will you care for those around you and bless them as Jesus would? Will you be like Abraham who had FAITH, and acted on his faith, so he was called a “friend of God?”
James 2:23 “Abraham had faith in God, and it was credited to his account as righteousness.” He was even called God’s friend. (CJB)
Our FAITH needs to be COMPLETE with ACTIONS that lead those around us to the Father. Our TRUST needs to be strong enough that we bring HIS JOY to the people we come in contact with. This weekend stop and REFLECT on your actions. Are they declaring your faith to those around you? Is your faith drawing you closer to an understanding of what HE wants you to do?
I challenge you to TRUST Him, LISTEN to Him and DEPEND on HIM for everything,
then ACT on what HE is telling you to do.
It might actually change your community, than your world.
~ Rose Horton