“Faith without action is dead”.
I hear that phrase all the time. But I never really had a personal inclination for it. And that’s because I used to be a very lazy person. When I was in high school, my battle cry was “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, what God has prepared for those who love Him”, a verse taken from 1 Corinthians 2:9. And to me, that was enough. It was enough that I had faith. In high school, I’ve met opportunities beyond my imagination. And none of them was ever a fruit of my hard work. It was all God’s grace.
I depended on this so much that I never really knew how to work hard. I did work hard on things I really want or on the things that I was too pressured not to work hard on. But it was such an uncommon thing for me that every result of my working hard, I considered a success story. See, it was that rare. And I continued to live with this for years.
But recently, as online classes were drawing near, I was starting to grasp how difficult it’s going to be for me. So I decided to fix my mindset and start practicing working hard for my studies. As I was focusing too much on this, at some point I asked myself, what will happen now to my service? I couldn’t stand to choose between them. And then it occurred to me that I didn’t have to choose. I work hard for my faith as much as I work hard for my studies, as much as I work hard for anything else.
I was so ready to sweat on my studies that I realized how unfair it is that I don’t have the same grit for my faith. And with that epiphany surfaced the common phrase “Faith without action is dead.” I realized that this phrase doesn’t just mean hard work plus faith in God equals success, a mere formula for getting what you deeply want. But it actually applies to our faith too. And though it is a gift given to us, its maturity and growth is something needed to be exerted much effort by us.
Take for example a situation wherein our pride is eating us up. We don’t just pray for it to go away. We work hard to get to a certain level of humility that will purify our faith in God. I know it’s difficult. But so is every other thing in our lives. Perhaps it is time that we anticipate difficulties as we grow in faith and actually normalize working hard for it. Our everyday grind to beat temptations and perseverance in drawing ourselves closer to God shouldn’t be treated as rare success stories. As if it’s not expected from us to do just that. But something so common that results in a living example of a life that does not regard faith as something we associate with our weekend when we’re out there serving or attending mass, but as an aspect of our life that is intertwined with the rest of our being.
Kiana Gualberto is a Mission Volunteer of MFC Youth serving in the region of Visayas.