And I keep praying that this faith we hold in common keeps showing up in the good things we do, and that people recognize Christ in all of it.
Philemon 6 The Message
Recently I was asked to assist with the girls softball team at the school I teach at. I was reluctant at first, but felt it would be fun and another way I could connect with some of the students. A few days later I was dressed and ready to attend my first practice session with the team. The coach had formulated a new drill that neither myself nor the girls were familiar with. As she verbally explained the multitude of concepts involved in this particular drill, I began to have the "deer in the headlight" feeling. I knew I was not the only one, because several girls, at various times, asked the coach to clarify her instructions. Whew, I knew I could maintain my newly appointed status as "assistant coach" by not having to admit my lack of understanding of this important drill. One student chimed, "Ugh, I feel like I am in biology class." This comment sunk in, as I am the biology teacher for this student. "So this is how my biology students feel," I mused. Another wave of relief came over me when one of the players asked the coach to demonstrate her instructions. Celebratory sounds were exchanged as the coach agreed. The team spent the next ten minutes doing a "mock drill." After two of these drills, the team declared their understanding of this vital "skill-drill." I smiled with confidence knowing my newly appointed position would continue for at least one more day.
What this moment taught me was the important difference between knowing about something and actually doing it. In James 3:22 he writes: "You see that faith was working with his works, and as as a result of the works, faith was perfected." Practicing my faith in Christ brings completion to my understanding of His instructions. It is not enough to know that "love covers a multitude of sins," but I must put into practice "fervent love" (1 Peter 4:8). If "His compassions never fail" (Lamentations 3:22), then I must act in compassion each time I am aware of a need that is within my sphere of influence to meet. If knowing the "truth makes you free" (John 8:32), than I must practice living in truth. You see, practicing that softball drill cemented my understanding of its value. What "life drill" do you need to put into practice? Christ can only be recognized when we go from knowing who He is to practicing what He commanded us to do. Then, and only then, will the world recognize that He came to " bind the brokenhearted," to turn the "ashes" of our life into "gladness," and to "set the captive free" (Isaiah 61).
Today, Father, grant me the strength to do what I know is right: to speak gentle, to love unconditionally, and to forgive as many times as requested. Let the works of my life demonstrate to the world that my faith in you is worth the investment. You, Oh God, redeem people. I pray, in Jesus name, amen.