Does Faith Have Joy or Works?

We tend to think of faith as something we do.

In my former religious-traditions-walk I was taught there were things I needed to do to prove my faith and grow in faith. For example:

  • Memorize scripture, especially ‘faith’ passages
  • Declare scriptures out loud – the thinking is that if you speak it then it has more power
  • Fasting is necessary
  • Have quiet time and worship time
  • Pray in the Spirit often
  • Listen to faith teachings
  • Have positive confessions and don’t acknowledge negative circumstances
  • ‘Name it and claim it’

Looks like, to have faith, we must do something. It is up to us. Many Christians have been taught that without faith you can’t do mighty signs and wonder, can’t heal, and can’t advance the kingdom of God. He is looking for spiritual giants – after all there is a war to fight and we need more faith!

What a misunderstanding of faith!

Little did I realize, back then, all those ‘to do’ things were keeping me from TRUE faith and joy, and fullness.

Do you realize that joy is a natural part of faith?

Paul effortlessly and gladly demonstrated this faith dynamic in his repetitive words of, “Rejoice! Again, I say rejoice!”, while imprisoned in a dark cell. (Php 4:4)

Paul acknowledged the Philippians’ “joy of the faith”. (Php 1:25)

Then Paul extolled how he was filled with joy remembering the genuine faith that was in Timothy. (2Tim 1:4,5)

Check out the Greek to get the fullest meaning of Paul’s joy about faith:

Paul was

  • filled (plēróō  – to make full, complete)
  • with joy (chara – joy, delight greatly, gladness)
  • when he called (lambanó – to take hold of, to lay hold by aggressively (actively) accepting what is available)
  • to remembrance (hupomnésis – remembrance, recollection, putting in mind, a reminder
  • the genuine (anupokritos – unfeigned, without hypocrisy, sincere, no phoniness from a hidden agenda)
  • faith (pistis – faith, trust, belief, confidence. From root peithô – to persuade, be persuaded. Faith is God’s divine persuasion on the human heart. Faith is always received from God, never generated by us.)

that was in Timothy.

Was Paul working up joy when he was in the midst of prison? No! Paul’s joy flowed from the faith by which he was persuaded. He knew who he was in Christ Jesus, and circumstances did not alter his confidence, trust, and faith. Joy remained because it is naturally and spiritually a part of true faith.

Paul saw this same faith in Timothy. It was genuine. True faith has no pretenses, no striving, no performance, no requirements, no hype. True faith is rock steady, full of rest, and certainty. Now, who wouldn’t have joy with that kind of faith?!

If you have uncertainty in your walk with God, if you think you waver in your faith, then please realize you have not heard the truth about genuine faith. He wants to persuade you with the truth of real faith and joy. And He will do it because having His faith is knowing your true identity. He wants you to get it. He wants to whack you with the joy of faith!

Dig In

  • Paul said, “I live by the faith OF the Son of God.” (Gal 2:20, emphasis mine) Okay, it’s His faith. Then remember how much joy Jesus has over us? (Prov 8:31) His great delight came out of His faith about us. He was fully persuaded that who He made in His image was perfect. What a huge gift His faith is to us!
  • If you have gotten caught up in all the ‘works’ of faith that religion says you need to do, then ask Him to free you from all that misunderstanding and striving. Then enter into His joy of faith.His Gift of Joy of Faith! Receive! Go ahead, receive – there are no ‘strings’ attached, but hey, maybe a bow of ribbons for fun!
  • “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence on account of His faith.” (Eph 3:12) When we grasp we have His faith – talk about certainty! Let’s get certain! It is part of fullness upon fullness!
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2 responses to “Does Faith Have Joy or Works?

  1. To clarify…if a person doesn’t do any of the works that are commonly taught to express faith/grow in faith, are there any negative outcomes? Like God is at least a LITTLE unhappy with the person? And…prayers are not answered, life circumstances grow difficult, relationships fail? If these/other negative outcomes do not occur, then perhaps the works can become activities? Perhaps a believer can be so rested in God’s acceptance that he will memorize Scripture as he is drawn to that activity, and it won’t be hard. Worship and prayer might easily take place naturally and effortlessly through the day, when experience with finding it hard is nullified and there is no compulsion to make sure it happens for a long enough time each day. Perhaps a person might even hear from God more clearly from a position of rest, rather than from a feeling of being less-than, because a quiet time didn’t happen that day…

    • Thanks for your thoughts Janet. You are right on. Because most Christians are works oriented (religion teaches that) then not doing faith building works is scary. There will be an automatic belief that surely negative things will happen if I don’t follow the rules and expectations! What a lie! Detoxing from religious traditions takes time. It is okay to ‘test’ God by doing nothing. The wonderful discovery that true relationship with Him happens out of rest and not doing is worth the risk. When one experiences that, then what we thought were requirements come to nothing. True desires surface that we find delicious, delightful, fulfilling, and freeing. Guilt and fear scram. It is indeed, as your describe, a walk that is “natural and effortless”.

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