I recently attended my second grader’s school recognition assembly.  The message on one of the banners has stuck in my head.  It said, “The secrets of success do not work unless you do.”   What a great quote!  This isn’t just true when it comes to personal achievements, but is also true for our spiritual success!

The Bible says it another way.  Quite simply, it says, “Faith without works is dead…”  (James 2:20)  Wow.  That’s blunt and to the point!

This verse tells us that we can read all the books in the world about how to pray and study the Bible.  We can attend marriage enrichment seminars and conferences on church leadership or evangelism.  We can fill our heads with all the ‘how-to’ information possible, but if we don’t apply what we learn – if we don’t work at it – then it’s all for not.  Remember the words of the school banner:   “Secrets of success do not work unless you do.”  Remember the words of James:  “Faith without works is dead.”

To find “success” as a Christian, I have to put my faith into action!  I can’t just learn all about praying.  I must spend my own time with the Lord in prayer.  It’s not enough to read Christianity for Dummies.  I’ve got to be in the Word every day – even if it’s just pondering a single verse.   From there, I need to respond to the ways God speaks to my heart and puts thoughts in my head.  If I don’t work at my faith and put my faith into action, then my faith is as good as dead.  OUCH! 

I’ve been in a few conversations lately about how sometimes as Christians we try to do what we’re ‘supposed to do to be “successful”, but sometimes we feel like we fail, and then we feel like we must be bad Christians.  Some people get discouraged trying to follow ‘rules’ and eventually want to give up, wondering what’s the point? 

Please hear me when I tell you it’s not about that!  Finding “success” as a Christian isn’t about adhering to legalistic rules.  It’s about living in faith and acting out our love for the Lord in ways that bless others; and doing so because we love the Lord in a way that makes us want to please Him by doing these things.  When we live this way, living out our faith from what’s in our hearts, THEN we can feel good about ourselves as Christians and know we’re doing our best to bless the Lord by blessing others.