Every coffee drinker prepares the perfect cup of coffee in a unique way. I like bold coffee sweetened with liquid Stevia. My husband used to only like a little light-bodied coffee with his creamer but has come over to my way of blending. My mom likes straight-up black coffee.
The perfectly blended cup of coffee depends on the individual. A person’s cup of coffee provides a visible example of his tastes and maybe even his personality.
Every person has a unique blend of personality traits, just like every cup of coffee has its own individual flavor, if it’s good coffee. Some people are more task-oriented, while others focus more on social events. Some people gain energy from being around other people, and some need alone time to charge their batteries.
God created each person as a unique part of his body, the church, each designed for a specific plan and purpose.
“It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.” (Ephesians 1:11-12, MSG)
Faith and Works
One way this reality of “glorious living” bears true comes through the perfect blend of faith and works in our lives.
“Now some may argue ‘Some people have faith; Others have good deeds.’ I say, ‘I can’t see your faith if you don’t have good deeds, but I will show you my faith through my good deeds.’” (James 2:18)
At first glance, James seems to contradict Paul in Romans 3:28.
“Man is justified by faith apart from works of the law.”
Deeper investigation into both James’ and Paul’s writings helps us realize that the two actually complement each other. Together they tell us that while works don’t bring salvation, they sure do give evidence of a life changed by God through his saving grace. In other words, before salvation works mean nothing. After salvation, they mean a everything.
True faith involves total commitment to God. Works do not substitute for our faith, but they do verify and bear witness to its existence. So, Paul’s and James’ teachings really work together to describe the perfect blend of faith and works in a life devoted to Christ.
Whatever their unique personality blend, every believer also must blend the reality of his faith with his actions to create a living faith that is a testimony to others. We may all live out our faith a bit differently, just like every coffee lover expresses his unique tastes based on our unique personalities and interests. Genuine faith is always lived out in some way in every believer.