"Faith without works is dead".
Many people believe that their 'works'
(usually charitable) will get them 'in'. Most will quote the verse above
as their proof. This implies that I have to somehow 'earn' heaven. Have
you read the page on Grace yet? I believe that doing charitable works is
excellent, if its done from the love in my heart, not my desire to earn points
or impress God. If I'm not doing it out of love, then my efforts are in
vain. Its all in the heart condition!!! Let's put this in human terms. If
I catch one of my children showing care for their sibling while they don't know
I'm watching, I'm so touched and know that they truly love the other. If they
only do it while I'm watching and then when I'm not, treat the other badly, then
I know they are only trying to score points with me. That attitude counteracts
the good deed they did for my benefit.
Why would I think our heavenly Father is any
less of a parent than I am? God is always watching us and always knows the
motive in our heart.
If I start improving my relationship with my
God, I suddenly find His love flowing out of my heart to love others. This,
then, truly honors him!
Have to vs. Want to!
Works come from within first.
I first need to work at my relationship with God, work at getting rid of my
unbelief, and work at knowing Him and His character.
After these works I found I
wanted to do charitable work, tithing to the church, etc. I did these
things before because I had to according to His Word. In normal
circumstances, anyone who tells you to
your enemy must be short of a full deck. But when I changed my
have to's to want to's it made the impossible possible.
An added bonus to doing works
because I want to is I am storing my
gold, silver, and precious stones as
treasures in heaven. But works with a "have to" attitude will only
produce hay, wood, and stubble and be burned away on the judgment day.