November 6, 2017
By Paul J Banta
James 2:14-20 says, “Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense? I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I’ll handle the works department. Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove. Do I hear you professing to believe in the one and only God, but then observe you complacently sitting back as if you had done something wonderful? That’s just great. Demons do that, but what good does it do them? Use your heads! Do you suppose for a minute that you can cut faith and works in two and not end up with a corpse on your hands?” – The Message
God’s goals for you in the Game of Life are established through you maturing faith and relationship with the Father, Son, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit living inside you. The Bible says, “Without this trusting faith, it is impossible to please God.” To please God, you do set goals and objectives that require you to use your faith in God knowing this is what His might want from you. It’s not always easy to figure out how you do this. We often center our activities on what you think might be good for us, knowingly or unknowingly leave God out of the picture. We often get caught between the efforts we put into these goals and the consistency of using our faith in a living Savior to help us get the job done. So, where do you begin to figure this out and get it right? James, the half-brother of Jesus, hits the nail on the head. See what he says about your faith, and your work rate should be. You may want to read it 2 or 3 times and let it sinks in. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” – NIV
There was a time in my coaching career where I’d set plenty of goals for myself and my players. I did not want to make them too big and set myself up for failure. Who wants to be a failure in the eyes of the world looking at you? If I had known earlier in my coaching career that I could set mind-boggling goals and that God would have approved my efforts in the world of coaching NCAA Division 1 Soccer, things would have been allotting different for myself and players. My bad choices and sadly doing most everything by my strength and might was not good for me, and those results often reflected on my players. When you use standards that are not Godly or allow the ungodly to influence you the results will never please you and your players, and they certainly do not want God. God eventual through the power of His Holy Spirit changed all that for me and in His timing, not mine. It happens to all Christ followers.
How does this relate to us as coaches and players in this game? It means we must set goals that are bigger than ones we can reach on your own. If we call ourselves Christ followers and want to please God, we don’t set any goals without having faith in God that this is what He would wish for your life. To hear God’s approval, we can use scripture, our answered faithful prayers, and prayers of friends who are serious about praying for you (you need 2-4 faithful, prayerful accountability partners), God’s advice from others and past experiences that are resulting in success by Godly counsel.
Think about this statement: “You haven’t believed God until you’ve attempted to do something that can’t be done unless His power is at work in your life.” Matthew 25:21 says, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
What’s your next move?