Way back in school, I remember the teacher would send home math sheets. Honestly, I don’t have to go too far back to remember because my daughter brings these kinds of sheets home every week. (ugh) These math sheets generally have about 10 problems that you have to figure out. But the most important instruction on the sheet says
“Show Your Work”
What the teachers mean is that they want to see how you processed the answer to the problem. It’s one thing to know an answer, but it’s another thing to know how to get or compute the answer. I can tell you that 7 + 5 x 2 = 24 but that’s not correct because the computation is wrong. According to the PEMDAS rules of math, I should multiply before I add, which then would give you the correct answer of 17. Is that enough math for you today? haha!
Showing the teacher your work allows them to diagnose any breakdown in how you comprehend a situation. It also strengthens your understanding of a concept.
It’s that last part that I want to focus in on- “It strengthens your understanding of a concept.” Studies show that you regardless of your learning style, you better retain a concept by doing it. “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” You can cognitively understand but when it comes to application, there could be a real breakdown.
I watch HGTV quite frequently. I have watched several hours of renovation shows. I could talk to you about support beams and HVAC systems. I could tell you all about tile and wood flooring. I can even talk to you about using shiplap. I’ve said many times that I could probably renovate a house. But I have never done it. I barely own tools! I partly understand the concept, but until I actually do it, I won’t be intimately acquainted with renovating a house. (Truth be told, I don’t really want to. I just want to keep watching!)
I’ve watched lawyer shows, but I’ve never tried a case. I’ve watched all the seasons of Grey’s Anatomy 2.5 times through, but I’ve never even sewn a stitch, let alone resected a tumor. I know the lingo and the jargon, but I’ve never used the information I’ve attained. But if you’ve ever watched an episode of Grey’s Anatomy (even if you haven’t) you know that the interns and the residents learn by doing. In the medical field and other trades, it is required for the students to learn by putting to practice what they understand in order to show their work.
This is how our faith works. Faith must be demonstrated. We don’t do in order to build faith, but we do because we have faith. James 2:14-26 talks all about how faith without works or good deeds is useless. What good is the knowledge if you don’t ever apply it? What good is it to know to do right by people but you don’t?
Many people profess to be Christians and to know how to live like Christ, yet their lives do not reflect Christ in any way. People cannot see your heart or your mind. They see what you do. They hear what you say. They judge you based on what you stand for.
And before you say “Well, people shouldn’t judge me,” know that we all make judgments. Daily. You see a tree with fruit hanging off of it. The sign in front says peaches, but as you get closer, you recognize that those aren’t peaches, but they’re apples. Are you wrong for saying that the peach tree is not a peach tree but an apple tree? NO. This is the same way that we must live. If our sign says Christian, yet our fruit says otherwise, how can we be upset? If by our faith, we aren’t displaying Christ’s character, then we must allow the Spirit to fix it.
Faith helps us to live this life as believers. It’s not just to believe God for a house, a car, a spouse, a great career or any of the other things that we employ faith for. Faith is so we can trust in God enough to allow Him to take full control of our lives. It is by faith that we are able to live righteously. It is by faith that we can show love to the people who just plain get on our nerves. It is by faith that we can show kindness to the smelly homeless family. It is by faith that we can show the world what it looks like to remain pure and set apart. It is by faith that we can show others that there is another way to live this life, to show others that there is a hope in the one true Christ.
When you fully comprehend faith, your life will show it. But we’re so caught up in the low-hanging fruit that we misappropriate faith. Much like solving that math problem wrong, when we utilize faith for the wrong things, there is a problem with the computation. Did you know that you don’t need to have faith to get a house or a car or a spouse or a great career? Many people have ALL of those things but couldn’t care less about our God. I’m not saying it’s wrong to believe God for those things, but our faith is for so much more.
In our world today, people NEED to see our faith. The NEED to see how living by faith has changed our lives. They NEED to see the compassion and the joy and the hope that living by faith produces. They NEED to see the stability that only comes from living a life that is completely devoted to God, by faith.
The men and women in the Bible were able to fully devote their entire lives to God only through their faith in Him. They were men and women, just like us, but it was through their faith that they were able to accomplish GREAT things and to be examples to others. (See Hebrews 11)
I’m challenging you- show your faith. Let it be evident to others that you really believe in God. Not just go to Church, but that your life has been transformed. Show your faith. Live by faith. Allow your faith in Christ to govern EVERYTHING that you do.
Where in your life are you struggling in your faith? What have you done to show your faith? How can you grow in it?