Have you ever felt the Lord tug on your heart, asking you to reach out to someone, and yet the timing seemed inconvenient? This happened to me recently. I was walking past a person I knew and had an inward sense that I should take a moment to sit with her—just sit. I had made plans to hang out with some friends, and I knew that stopping might shorten my time with them, but I obeyed the Lord’s leading, begrudgingly at first.
The time spent with my new friend turned out to be so sweet. She was facing some hard situations and needed a listening ear. Despite feeling very inadequate and ill-equipped at various points in our conversation, I ultimately came away so blessed by our discussion and encouraged in my own personal walk with God,. There was even a moment when I silently asked the Lord, “Why on earth do you want ME to be here? I’ve never walked through this sort of stuff. I don’t know what to say!” He heard my prayer, and I was immediately filled with peace. I trusted Him to guide my words, and those words seemed to be precisely what my friend needed to hear.
One challenge that we face as believers is the struggle to consistently offer our service to Him and to others out of right motives. Is our service inspired by sincere love, or by a sense of duty, or even guilt?
Good works do not produce salvation; however, salvation should produce good works. In Ephesians 2:8-10, Paul writes, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it [salvation] is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” If salvation is based on works, our service for Christ would be motivated by duty and fear. But because our salvation is based on faith in Jesus, our service is rightly motivated by gratitude and love, which produces joy!
Why does a living faith lead to good works? James writes in 2:26, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” We know a body is physically alive when we can feel the pulse, see the breath, and detect the body temperature. Likewise, we know that someone is truly spiritually alive when we see his faith in Christ producing good works.
Many of us buy into the misleading idea that joy comes from receiving. However, Scripture clearly teaches that true joy is the direct result of giving and serving out of gratitude, even when we might feel unworthy or ill-equipped. I pray we are all filled with a renewing of our heart and mind and given the passion of a new believer to share the Gospel both in word and deed.
May JOY be found in you!
Written by Courtney Kaspar