I have looked at the relationship between the sermon on the mount and the book of James in part 1. In part 2, I looked at what the word faith means to me and how I use the steps to achieve it. Now in part 3 I want to turn to what the whole verse means for me today.
I believe the whole purpose of the AA program is to put myself in right relationship with God. I first get into this right relationship through steps 1-3. Then through the actions of 4-9 I am able to enter the world of the spirit. I use steps 10-12 to stay in this right relationship. The result is knowledge, trust, and a faith that works. I am now certain their exists a power in me which can change my attitude and actions. I have knowledge of God’s power because I have seen it work in my life. But there is a warning. Beware. This power will only work in my life by my consent and permission. It is available only if I am in right relationship with Him which means to me I am in the world of the spirit. I can enter or leave this world any time. I leave it when I am in relationship with self will not Gods will. Steps 10-11 are designed to interweave the practices of inventory, prayer, and meditation to maintain and improve my conscious contact resulting in power to carry out his will. This is how I get into fit spiritual condition and it is only when I am in fit spiritual condition that I am in right relationship with God. This results in works that produce good fruit.
If I am allowing my faith to be represented in my life then it will be seen by my works. If I am not using my faith, my works will be driven by anger, fear, wrong actions and resultant shame and guilt. If I am using my faith to access God’s will then my actions will be driven by love, patience, tolerance, courage, pity, compassion, and consideration. So my works will reflect who I am allowing to direct my life and it will be manifested in my works or actions. The inventory process at night on page 86 is set up to review each day how my works were related to contact with God or separation from God . It is really looking at what was the fruit produced that day. I can inventory and see where my faith was dead and the results. By your fruit your faith will be revealed.
For me my faith being dead means I am not alive to God’s power. I can pray and believe every moment but if not allowing him to work my faith will produce nothing good or be dead in my life. So step 10 is how I try to stay in the moment with God and follow his will for me using his power. Then my faith is alive. When my faith is alive my thoughts and action are aligned with God. How well I do this will be reflected in how I feel. I feel good when following God’s will. I feel bad when following my will. This is how God disciplines me.
It goes back to the question is God everything or nothing. My works will reflect my choice. If I choose God then I allow him to work in my life and the result is beautiful fruit. However when I choose myself and run on self will then the fruit will look rotten. So a faith that is dead will be seen by it’s works. A faith that is alive will result in positive actions. The result of the positive actions is to produce more faith and keep my faith alive. It becomes a circle. The more alive I am to the power of God the stronger my faith and the result is more peace and serenity and service and love. We are told the process of spiritual progress is never ending. The more faith as the result of positive action the more I seek connection to God only seeking to carry out his will so my actions will be positive.
If I have an awakened spirit as a result of the steps then my actions will be a testimony to God working in my life. I will be carrying the message and practicing the spiritual principles in all my affairs.
I believe you can assess whether you have a faith that produces good fruit and is alive by your level of emotional sobriety. It will reflect how well you are working the steps and allowing God to direct and guide your life. Welcome any comments firstname.lastname@example.org