Let us consider two essential dynamics of the spiritual life.
Faith without deeds is dead. Belief is not enough.
Without faith it is impossible to please God. Actions are not enough either.
The spiritual life consists of thinking right thoughts and doing right actions. Growing spiritually is the process of thinking MORE right thoughts and doing MORE right actions.
It’s not enough to believe the right things, and only have “head knowledge,” our faith must most motivate real actions.
It’s not enough to do the right things, and simply be a person people consider “good,” our good actions must be born out of a love for God.
Many people can answer tough theological questions and paint colorful pictures describing God … but they aren’t actually loving other people: Living in community, demonstrating grace, and speaking the truth in love.
Many people get along with others and are well liked because they are kind…but they aren’t actually moved by their love for God: acknowledging his power, thankful for his gifts, and trusting his promises.
The spiritual life is like a rope, a pair of cords twisted together.
From God’s perfect point of view, there is no separation between faith and deeds. 0ur actions in the world and attitudes of the heart are inseparable. A tree is known by it’s fruit.
The challenge therefore is not to match up our inner thoughts and outer actions—they are already a mirror image of one another. A tree is known by its fruit.
“You lack integrity!” is a cry that comes from a human perspective. One person sees and acknowledges the corrupt heart of another…
The challenge for the growing believer is to walk in step with God’s Spirit, spend time in God’s Word, and share authentically with God’s people…in these simple practices we receive greater insight into our hearts and greater wisdom in our actions.
Let us evaluate our understanding of what is good and right and true. Is it based on God’s Word or our personal experience?
Let us examine our motivations behind our kind words and good deeds. Are we looking for selfish gain or promoting God’s kingdom?
You know you are growing spiritually when we are thinking new thoughts (or rejecting lies) and when we are obeying more often.
The spiritual life isn’t a list of things to do, nor is it a list of things to know. It is both.