Thursday, February 9, 2017

Powers For Good

Hi. I haven’t written here in a while.

It’s been tough to come up with words of faith lately.

I’m not sure why, since I’ve been hanging close to God since our absence from church in the fall. I guess it’s just been harder to share since I got out of practice of regularly writing about faith.

Doesn’t that happen often? We get out of the habit of doing something good, and one day we realize we hadn’t done it in over a month.

Writing about faith isn’t the same as having faith. The Bible says “It’s impossible to please God without faith because the one who draws near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards people who try to find him.” Hebrews 11:6

But the Bible also says In the same way, faith is dead when it doesn’t result in faithful activity.”James 2:17

And on and on and on.

I’m no Bible scholar, so I won’t provide an in-depth analysis about the relationship between faith and good works, fearing that I might make a mistake and lead anyone astray. But basically, you can’t please God by only doing good things, and you can’t claim faith if you don’t show it by the things you do. If we have faith, we should do good things to practice and strengthen it, and we should do good things out of faith and not for our own glory.

This blog came out of a suggestion from our pastor, who approached me at church and said that he’d like me to “use my powers for good.” I said "um, okay," and our church shares my link on their weekly newsletter. Once in a while people tell me they read my blog, and lately I’ve been wondering just how far back the one or two people who have approached me needed to go in my archive to read something new.

But is writing about my faith a good work? I’ve been writing online for enough years to know I couldn’t possibly be doing this for my own glory – an extremely small number of people read what I have to say, and it’s impossible to know the impact of these words. It’s fair to say that I am doing this for my own enjoyment and edification, and hoping that God is using my writing to benefit that small handful of people who are reading. Am I really using my powers for good? Especially if I’ve dropped the ball and write only sporadically?

I truly believe that God put us each here to influence each other in ways that expand and strengthen his Kingdom on earth and in heaven. We don’t know how we are being used by God in our everyday lives. And we have to lay down our own lives daily to live for him if that is what we want. We exercise our free will to either do for God or do for ourselves. It gets tangly in my mind when I do something that I truly enjoy – am I doing this for me, or for God? Can God still use my efforts if I’m consciously only doing them for myself?

I have to believe that he does. Sometimes I think about writing for days and weeks and months and whine It’s so harrrrrrd and I force myself to fumble through my thoughts and then other times I think to myself Wow, I really have something to say here and the ideas flow and I read and re-read and hurt myself from patting my own back so much.

I know enough about God to realize that it’s his will to do whatever he wants with my words, whether copious or scarce. Or whatever I’m doing when I’m not writing. That as long as I give my life to him daily, he is using my efforts for his plan. That’s where my faith lies: in trusting him to use the powers he gave me for good.

What “powers” or gifts have you received by God that you use for good?

Do your faith and good work often get tangled up with or overshadowed by your own desire for glory?

How does God help you stay on track of doing good things for him by faith?