Living It Out

Several weeks ago, I went downstairs to buy dinner and I ran into a man who operates one of the businesses in Eastwood. I consider this man a friend even though our interactions have only been on the sidewalk. I guess years of living and working in the same place connect you to people that way.

Instead of the usual greetings, he wanted my opinion about a work question. Now I made it clear to him that if he was looking for business advice, I was the wrong Bonifacio to talk to, but he wanted a pastor’s perspective.

He described a major disagreement he had with a former associate. From his story, it seemed that he was correct and had every right to pursue legal action against this man. Since the amount in dispute was in the several millions, I asked him why he didn’t take the man to court.

He said, “Well, the Bible says to settle with your brother outside of court as much as you can. He’s a Christian and I’m thinking about his children as well. I want to discern the motives of my heart, because I want to honor God in how I go about this.”

I was stunned. We prayed together, and we asked God to give him wisdom. But I couldn’t shake the conversation from my head.

Last week, I got an email from a young man who had just finished Victory Weekend in one of our Victory churches. He was convicted by the Holy Spirit to not only confess his sins to God but to certain loved ones who he had hurt in the process.

It was obvious that he had some very difficult and painful conversations ahead of him, and he was asking for wisdom and prayer as he moved forward. I gave him a little bit of advice and then prayed for him.

A couple days later he wrote me back saying he had the talk. It was painful and sad as expected, but the wounded party responded with more grace than he expected.

What makes both of these stories so memorable and powerful to me is their faith in Jesus translated to very real and tangible actions. The first man’s faith influenced the way he did business. The second man’s faith caused him to treat his relationships with more value. Theirs is a Lived-Out Faith.

Does your faith affect the way you live? Could we tell that you’re a Christian if we only observed the way you talk to people, the way you spend money, the way you relate to your family members, the way you work, or the way you respond to difficulty?

The book of James says that “faith without works is dead.” In short, real, saving faith is faith that can be seen in our lifestyle.

What difficult decisions has your faith caused you to make recently?

14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:14-17

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