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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Charade (08/14/08)

TITLE: Faith By Works Or By Love
By john garner


It’s a new year, January, 2008, and the last two months have been both good and bad. I wish I knew what to expect from day to day because my emotions are out of control, running back and forth from one extreme to the other. Yet, I am learning about “me” and there may actually be hope that I will find my true self, the individual You made, Lord, with the purpose You have for me. And I really believe that You can do it because You are love in the highest form. And therein lies the solution, not just for me but for every soul on this Earth.

There is a better way than following rules or obeying or proving faith by works. I know that because You have shown that the element that most describes You is “love.” Love created the world and all that is in it including me, warts and all. Then, love provided forgiveness and hope by sacrificing Itself so that I could be love, too, the highest form of love. If we plant laws, rules and works, the ground produces steel mills and skyscrapers, but if the richness in the soil is love then a bountiful harvest springs forth with blossoms of the gifts: faith, hope, compassion, gentleness, patience, unselfishness, giving, wisdom and all the flowers of goodness that are Your attributes.

So, if I have love and yet don’t obey the law, I am not nothing, I am not a clanging cymbal, and love provides forgiveness and hope. We strive to lead others to You in our church but unknowingly require certain types of behavior, speaking in certain ways using “holy” words, maintaining accepted lifestyles and expect obedience with the sacraments, and then we give the acceptance that is “freely given.” You didn’t require anything before You gave your love, not even belief. You even asked forgiveness for those who killed You when they had not even repented. That seems to say that there are no requirements in order for anyone to be loved and that covers a multitude of sins, ALL of them. It’s simple then, “when in doubt, love.” Unfortunately, we usually do just the opposite, “when in doubt, turn away.”

In practical application then, a reprogramming is necessary, a planned concerted effort to overcome our learned behaviors and thought patterns, such as not talking to strangers and considering our own needs first all the time. Our thoughts control our actions, therefore, begin there with every contact with those we know and with total strangers. Love is not optional or selective unless we choose to put limits on our love. God didn’t. Jesus didn’t.

Volumes of commentaries and studies have been written on the Christian way and we have all believed that it is a beautiful thing to follow those rules, but is it really? There truly is a more excellent way and we have only to take a little baby in our arms to know the simplicity of it all, Love.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 08/22/08
A nice example of monologue--I'd actually like to see this read aloud, maybe as the intro to a Bible study.

I'm not sure of the connection to this week's topic of "Charade".

This is definitely from the heart--thanks for sharing it!
Colin Swann08/24/08
Yes, all our efforts outside of agape love are just a pretense, a sham, a charade. Thanks for sharing your article with us.
Marlene Austin08/24/08
Nice devotional, with lots of truth. Not sure you convinced me here to throw away all those books on "the Christian Way", but interesting thoughts. :)
Patty Wysong08/26/08
I'm so thankful that we are not dependent on laws, but rather on love--God's love and forgiveness.