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Service, faith are keys to true salvation

By James Washington Religion Writer | 1/11/2013, noon

I’ve been told that faith is a tricky thing to deal with. It is constantly under attack and if you’re not careful, you’ll lose faith – if for no other reason than more than weariness due to constant grief.

Life has a way of making you believe some things are just not worth the trouble. At some point, each every one of us just wants to quit. Quit your job. End a relationship. Just stay away from those situations and people that remind you of negativity and tough times. But in the case of faith, you’re always supposed to have a way through.

I just believe that the way through is work. By work I mean work in the name of the Lord. Use your God-given gifts. It helps.

For example, how often have you been able to get yourself out of the doldrums because you decided to help someone else with their issues? How often have you been very thankful for what you have because you’ve seen firsthand what others don’t have? God does have a way of showing you that your stuff could be really worse.

Like I said, faith can be a tricky thing.

When it does kick in that now is the time, now is the test, then comes the temptation that challenges your faith. There are no signs on life’s highway that flash, “Faith test ahead.” More often than not, we recognize faith’s stop sign after we’ve already run through it.

I know I’ve botched many an opportunity to practice what I profess to preach. Talk the talk and then walk the walk. This is tricky stuff. At the end of any given day, a spiritual critique will reveal dozens of blown chances to witness, lead by example, help and serve.

But I am one man who appreciates that our God is a God of another chance. And you? Thankfully you, too, know you’ll get another crack at it because you’re still alive and your opportunities to serve are multiplied on a daily basis. It’s called life. If you missed it this morning, another opportunity will come around this afternoon.

The faith struggle is remedied by what you do as a result of knowing you can always do better. Real faith mandates a change in you. You just can’t do the same thing the same way with the same people once you’ve accepted Christ.

Even though you might make the same mistakes, you will realize and accept them as just that, mistakes. Now what?

We all know how incredibly hard it is to forgive those who have repeatedly come against us. But in doing, so our faith is increased. Our duty is to continue to work. We walk by faith and not by sight. Our effort is not to break the rules intentionally. The deed is the thing. Act on faith. Forgive and serve.

Soon our experiences teach us to recognize the faith signs. The more you do, the more you see. The more you see, the more you stop, look both ways and proceed with caution.

You see, it’s not so tricky. You just need to keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. Stop only to help someone else. It’s the work, stupid. As a result, God will take care of what you need to get through your stuff.