Faith with Works
Faith with works is acting as if what you believe is true although you do not see it, believing it is true because Jesus said it. So believe you are healed and through this very faith you will be healed.
My problem was if I stopped my addiction myself I was not acting out my faith. No, I was actually acting out of the law. When I act out of faith in God’s grace and believe, it is, I, surrendering to God’s power and process. When I found out my addiction was a disease, that I’m powerless to overcome, I stopped trying to make my healing happen and surrendered to my “higher power”, Jesus Christ, and on that day my healing began. Not over my addiction but from living by the law and then my healing of addiction came. So, maybe the sooner we give up on the law and enter the grace given to us, we are working out our faith. This faith is really about “ruthless trust” in God.
Allow me to describe the feeling of this “ruthless trust.” Have you ever jumped off a cliff? There is this cliff that overlooks the Methow River in my town. It was a popular spot because there are many different heights you can jump off, the highest being 76 feet. Climbing the cliff face was nerve-racking. So when you made it to the highest ledge, you’re already nervous and second guessing the whole idea of jumping. If that’s not enough, you look down and you can only see a sliver of the river and somewhere in that sliver of river is a deep pool you must hit. If that doesn’t change your mind, sections of the cliff bulge out along your trajectory path. To avoid hitting the cliff you must jump far enough out. But, this concerns you, because at the altitude, it looks as if jumping out might send you over the shoreline. That cliff… is your security, as long as you stay on that ledge you remain in control, safe and comfortable. I stood on that ledge for over an hour. I was in turmoil, resisting giving up but resisting giving in. I lost count how many times I began to set myself to jump and at the last moment fear would drive me away from the ledge. Looking down intensified my anxiety. So I would force myself not to look down.
Eventually, fear of failure and shame would overcome the fear of possible death and I would cast off of me all of the thoughts and feelings that prevented me from jumping and fling myself off the cliff ledge.
There is this moment, so brief but so definite, that you experience at the instant your feet transition from solid ground to emptiness. In this moment, you realize what you’ve just done and there is no turning back, you have conceded all control, all safety, all security and now… a new feeling comes…replacing the anxiety and stress. You don’t have time to interpret your emotions as you’re streaking down. Maybe it’s fear you feel? Adrenalin? Excitement? For me? I felt it all, but mostly terror and as soon as I felt it, I entered the water. Into a new kind of safety and new kind of life…because I jumped.
This is faith with works. When you launch yourself from the cliff; letting go of control and trusting His way of doing things instead of yours, His will instead of your will, His grace instead of the law.
You will know you have jumped, when you understand what freedom feels like.
Note: “Ruthless Trust” is the title of a book written by Brennan Manning. Check out his other excellent books “Ragamuffin Gospel” and “Abba Father”