Jim has becomesomewhat of a self-taught Bible scholar in the two years since he accepted Jesus Christ as hisSavior. He is now part of two Bible Study groups and recently completed a thirty-four weekDiscipleship Study program. Jim is part of the church worship committee and attends Sunday School with his wife. He was reluctant to speak out at first, but soon discovered that his Bible knowledge exceeded that of others in the class. He now discusses most topics freely. Jim is building good library of Christian books, listens to Christian music and watches Christian TV. An avid computer 'buff', Jim 'surfs the net' for Christian sites and downloads Bible study and devotional materials.
Beyond work, family, church, Bible studies and yard work, Jim has little time for anythingelse. He feels a little guilty about declining requests to teach Sunday School, cook at the soupkitchen, and help with a 'Habitat for Humanity house', but "he simply does not have time". Hisdaughter started college last fall and his son will start soon. "Thus", Jim declares, "there is notenough money left over", when asked to pledge to the annual church budget. Still,Jim and his wife "put a little something in the offering plate" most Sundays.
Studying the Bible, attending church and participating in Sunday School are to faith, whatdriving classes, videos and books are to driving. One may know all about driving, but unless oneactually drives a vehicle in moving traffic, it is not driving. Like-wise, one might know all about faith, but unless one actually lives by faith, it is not faith. Good intentions, a desire to please Godand weekly church service are not a substitute for faith-led action. They are the driving videos,books and lectures of faith. One would never confuse those things with driving, but many seemto confuse agreement with Christian principles, and actual faith. Active, living faith motivates realaction in one's daily life, and produces fruit, or it is not faith. "Faith without works is dead",and useless to both God and man (James 2:17, 26, Matt. 5:13 ).
The analogy between driving and faith stops with the illustration of the differencebetween 'head knowledge' and real faith. Driving is simply the mechanical operation of a movingvehicle. Faith is an unseen desire to please God, that motivates one to act on God's commands, instead of the world's practices and beliefs. Faith-led action itself is the proof [substance] ofone's faith in God (Heb. 11:1). It is possible to be so engrossed in the 'study of God', that oneforgets about the 'God of the study'.
The actions of faith, may appear similar to actions without faith, but God bypassesappearances and searches the heart (Heb 4:12-13). Two people may sit side-by-side on the samechurch pew for years. They may stand, bow and sing together and listen to the same sermons. They may even live in the same neighborhood, shop at the same stores, drive similar automobilesand work in the same office. On the outside, both appear the same. Still, one may have an activeliving faith, while the other has no faith, except in their own flesh. God knows the heart and noamount of study or knowledge can replace living faith. Jim knows about faith and Spiritual fruit,but, at least for now, seeks those things in the Bible, rather than on life's highways. (#118)