"Show" Versus "Sure"
Then he told this story to some who boasted of their virtue and scorned everyone else:
"Tow men went to the Temple to pray. One was a proud, se;f-righteous Pharisee, and the other a cheating tax collector. The proud Pharisee 'prayed' this prayer: 'Thank God, I am not a sinner like everyone else, especially like that tax collector over there! For I never cheat, I don't commit adultery, I go without food twice a week, and I give to God a tenth of everything I earn.'
"But the corrupt tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed, but beat upon his chest in sorrow, exclaiming, "God, be merciful to me a sinner.' I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home forgiven! For the proud shall be humbled, but the humble shall be honored." Luke 18: 9-14(TLB)
Just as the body is dead when there is no spirit in it, so faith is dead if it is not the kind that results in good deeds.
James 2: 26 (TLB)
In high school Cassius Rhue, from South Carolina, outweighed his older brother Vincent by more than 35 pounds, worked out more often, and could lift significantly more weight. Cassius considered all of this to be an advantage. One afternoon they decided to wrestle in the yard. Despite Cassius's physical size, muscle tone, and confidence, Vincent quickly beat him three times in a row. After his last victory his brother proclaimed, "That's the difference between 'show' muscles and 'for-sure' muscles!"
Recently Cassius was reminded of his brother's words while reflecting about a genuine faith: there is a faith that is just for show and a faith that is sure. The sure faith is based on obedience to God's word. A sure faith is developed through the disciplines of scripture study, prayer, worship, and service.
Showy faith may look good; but just like my "show" muscles, it is unable to withstand challenges or win even the smallest victory in life.
On the other hand, sure faith relies on the power and promises of God and helps us to stand when the floods come, life burdens, spread hope, and move mountains.
Prayer: Help us, O God, to have a strong foundation and a sure faith, in Jesus' name. Amen.