Effectual Christian Living

January 20, 2012

Isaiah 58:2-14
They look for me every day and want to know my ways. They act as if they were a nation that has done what is right and as if they haven’t disregarded God’s judgment [on them]. They ask me for just decrees. They want God to be near them.
3Why have we fasted if you are not aware of it? Why have we inflicted pain on ourselves if you don’t pay attention? Don’t you see that on the days you fast, you do what you want to do? You mistreat all your workers.
4Don’t you see that when you fast, you quarrel and fight and beat your workers? The way you fast today keeps you from being heard in heaven.
5Is this the kind of fasting I have chosen? Should people humble themselves for [only] a day? Is fasting just bowing your head like a cattail and making your bed from sackcloth and ashes? Is this what you call fasting? Is this an acceptable day to the LORD?
6This is the kind of fasting I have chosen: Loosen the chains of wickedness, untie the straps of the yoke, let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke.
7Share your food with the hungry, take the poor and homeless into your house, and cover them with clothes when you see [them] naked. Don’t refuse to help your relatives.
8Then your light will break through like the dawn, and you will heal quickly. Your righteousness will go ahead of you, and the glory of the LORD will guard you from behind.
9Then you will call, and the LORD will answer. You will cry for help, and he will say, “Here I am!” Get rid of that yoke. Don’t point your finger and say wicked things.
10If you give some of your own food to [feed] those who are hungry and to satisfy [the needs of] those who are humble, then your light will rise in the dark, and your darkness will become as bright as the noonday sun.
11The LORD will continually guide you and satisfy you even in sun-baked places. He will strengthen your bones. You will become like a watered garden and like a spring whose water does not stop flowing.
12Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the foundations of past generations. You will be called the Rebuilder of Broken Walls and the Restorer of Streets Where People Live.
13If you stop trampling on the day of worship and doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the day of worship a delight and the LORD’s holy day honorable, if you honor it by not going your own way, by not going out when you want, and by not talking idly,
14then you will find joy in the LORD. I will make you ride on the heights of the earth. I will feed you with the inheritance of your ancestor Jacob. The LORD has spoken.

Effectual Christian Living

As we ask ourselves at times why our faith seems so impotent, let us meditate on these precepts.  The motions and pretenses of religion will never be an adequate substitute for the reality of faith and godly living.  James 1:22-27 says much the same thing in a New Testament context.  ” Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.
26If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
My heart is to have a faith that is effective, relevant, powerful, loving and life changing.  It doesn’t matter how much I say I believe something if I am not walking it out in practice.  God called us not to just have a faith of theory, but practical living.  Sometimes our faith is not supernatural by virtue of miracles, signs and wonders, but because its love goes where others don’t want to go and do what other don’t want to do.  Love is the greatest and most effectual miracle of all.  It is something we all carry and posses in Christ, but we don’t always choose to use it as effectual as we can.  Love is not mystical, it is just practical.  It meets people at the point of their need.   It is willing to roll up its sleeve and get dirty in order to meet that need.  We can’t be spiritual until we are first practical. It doesn’t matter how much we know or  how much revelation we have if we don’t walk in it.
Yes, my heart’s cry is to see God working again through His people in signs, wonders and miracles, but all of these outward things can only effectual work through a heart that truly knows how to love.  When we truly have God’s heart and we live out of that heart, then He will prove Himself mighty in all that we do.


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