The Necessity of Good Works

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4  May you always be joyful in your union with the Lord. I say it again: rejoice! 5  Show a gentle attitude toward everyone. The Lord is coming soon. 6  Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. 7  And God’s peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus. 8  In conclusion, my friends, fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable. 9  Put into practice what you learned and received from me, both from my words and from my actions. And the God who gives us peace will be with you. Philippians 4:4-9 (TEV)

116      Fill yourself with good desires, which is a holy thing, praised by God. But don’t leave it at that! You have to be a soul—a man, a woman—who deals in realities. To carry out those good desires, you have to formulate clear and precise resolutions. And then, my child, you have to fight to put them into practice, with God’s grace.  (1)

Since Adam and Eve left the garden it seems, there have been discussions about doing good works, about purity of thought, about living a life that would please God.

I realized something about such conversations, they are rarely practical.

They can be theological, discussing how faith and works interact.  Or how works and salvation are related.  Most say that works aren’t necessary for salvation, but the arguments occur after that seemingly go on forever.  The same can be said about the laws of God, and the Law of God.  How does it impact believers, are we bound to first use of the law, or is there a third use.

Nice academic exercises.

One of my parishioners recently hit me hard with a comment, showing what conversations we don’t have.   She mentioned that I explained the what well, and the why well, but often leave out the how.  I thought about it, and I think she has a major point.  It reminds me of one of my greatest fears.  Trying to teach my wife, or my son, how to drive a stick shift, a manual transmission. It is about sensing, not thinking, and therefore it is hard to explain.  Well, that is my excuse, and I won’t stick to it.

So here goes…. how to accomplish good works

When it comes to works, the first step has to be internal.  You can’t do what is right, if our minds are always focused on what is not.

Which is why Paul tells us to fill our minds with things that deserve praise, the good things in life.  Think on these things,  On God’s love, on mercy, on His presence and peace.  Don’t just think about them for thirty seconds, but often dwell on them.  Think of Christ’s example, or that of apostles or those who’ve gone before us in the faith.

From dwelling on these things – to the point of desiring them in your life, desire them.  Think of the good you can do, and for everyone this is different.  It might be holding the hand of someone who is stressed and anxious.  It is always praying for people, not just saying that you will keep them in prayer.  It may be offering help, physical, financial, more often emotional.  POinting them to that which will help their anxiety fade, pointing them to what will strengthen their faith.  (An example – asking them why we commune, or what their baptism means – and reminding them that God is in their life..reminding them of passages like Romans 8:28-38)

Desiring to spend more time walking with God is the key, hearing Him, knowing Him, realizing the peace He brings,   That is the key to doing good works, and yes, in Christ we can… for our lives, our souls are God’s good work, as He transforms us and guides us in doing what He has planned….

So think on Christ’s love, often… let it dwell in you richly… so much you sing about it unconsciously…..

Oh and the necessity of doing this?  Try it for a while, then you will understand….for what happens is beyond our understanding….

Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 610-613). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on October 16, 2014, in Devotions, Poiema, The Forge and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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