On Love, Faith, and Works

I love my wife, and I often try to express that in doing things for her. I tell her I love her every day, but I write her a poem once a month, sometimes do some of her chores for her, offer her neck and back massages, kiss her for no particular reason, and buy her little presents when I’m at the store. I don’t do these things because they are mandated of me, I do them because my love for her is so strong that I can hardly help doing them. I want to do even more for her.

Conversely, imagine that I told her every day that I loved her, but didn’t help her at all around the house, even when she felt overwhelmed by her to-do list. What if I never bought her anything, never supported her in her projects, and was apathetic about kissing or touching her outside of bed? Could it really be said that I love her? She would believe it when I said it for a while, but she’d eventually realize the truth that my words are just wind.

It’s not the words that convince her; it’s the actions.

Even working to provide for us would not be enough to really show affection. That’s part of my duty as a husband. I can work for someone without loving them; it would just breed frustration and bitterness over time.

Because I love her, though, I want to provide for her. I want to take a job that doesn’t just give us enough to get by, but that can get us enough so I can spoil her. And that’s another aspect of love:

Love doesn’t seek to do the bare minimum. By its very nature, it is exuberant and excessive.

Faith works in much the same way. In James 2:14-26, James tells us that faith without works is dead. We can’t claim with merely our words to have faith; we must show it in our actions. Even as far as salvation goes, though it is the faith that Jesus paid for our sins that saves us and not any works, whether prior or subsequent to our salvation, that faith, if true, will almost demand to be shown in works.

For my part, I’m still working on this, to be honest. “I believe, help my unbelief!” as Mark 9:24 says. I have faith enough to move Leah and I to Houston at God’s call, but not faith enough yet that He’ll provide. I’m still going through all the scenarios in my mind of how we could scrounge together money if God somehow lets us down. Yet He can’t, not just because He is faithful, but because He loves us desperately. His love for us practically compels Him to do what is best for us, because it is exuberant and excessive. He’s not the God of the bare minimum; He’s the God of the absolute best, even when that best is not what we were looking for.

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