OK, Now What?

by Brandy Webb

Do you ever ask yourself what you are supposed to do now that you are a Christian? I do. I know that I can’t rely on someone else to do my Christian walk for me. I know that there is no one in between my Savior and me. I also know that salvation is a gift from God, not something we earn. However, we are to live lives that let our “light shine before others, so that they may see [our] good works and give glory to [our] Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, emphasis mine).

Works do not earn us salvation, I know that, but they are important. We reveal our faith by our works (James 2:18). For me it is like this, faith is the substance of things hoped for, while works are the substance of our faith. In the end, our works are what we have built on the foundation of Christ, for He only is our foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11). Whether the works are made of “gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or stubble; each man’s work will be revealed. For the Day will declare it, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire itself will test what sort of work each man’s work is. If any man’s work remains which he built on it, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, but as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). So, we can see that we can have salvation without works but we cannot receive our reward without works. This is what it means to build treasures in heaven and not here on earth.

So, what works does God want us to have? One requirement is to work with all our hearts “as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23). Another would be having the fruits that are listed in Galatians 5: 22-23. These are good works. We are to show love to others, even our enemies (Matthew 5:44). We are to live joyful lives where we give God thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18). We are to live peacefully with all people, no matter what our differences are (Romans 12:18; Hebrews 12:14). This one will require spiritual maturity. Do you realize that the Corinthians were called babies in Christ because of their jealousy, strife, and divisions with each other (1 Corinthians 3:1-4)? We don’t all have to agree on everything. We do not all have to go to the same organization, but we do have to acknowledge that we all make up the Body of Christ, and Christ is not divided.

We have to stop comparing ourselves with each other. Good works are not supposed to be for the purpose of highlighting ourselves, so that we become puffed up and others become jealous of us. No, true Godly good works are those that put the spotlight on Christ only, those works where we honestly do not want any credit. We always have to be careful not to ever “perform [our] righteous acts before men to be seen by them. If [we] do, [we] will have no reward from [our] Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:1).

We also have to work together to sow the fields, so that God has a bountiful harvest. This means we have to work together by planting seeds and by watering the seeds. Some of us may be the ones who plant, while others are the ones who come behind and water, just like Paul and Apollos (1 Corinthians 3:6). But only God can give the increase, so that no one can boast. We all are God’s “farmers” working together to spread the gospel, to show love and forgiveness, to give light in the darkness, and to walk in the footsteps of the Messiah.

I know I didn’t cover all the rest of the fruit of the Spirit, but look it over and realize we use these traits to interact with others. If we are living by the Spirit we will have good works that will please our Father in heaven. We all have a job to do, whether small, as the widow that gave all she had, or large, like risking your life to spread the gospel. Our eyes have been opened and our ears can hear, at least as much as God wants to reveal to us. Therefore, we must live out our faith spreading good works wherever God places us to be.