Where’s the Remote?

Oh, the things we do to keep from having to get up off the sofa.

“Do you have the remote?”

“No. You had it last.”

“You sure you don’t have it? Get up.”

I’m not sure why there are places in the deepest recesses of the couch where the remote becomes completely invisible. There must be an entrance into some kind of parallel TV universe in there. Incidentally, the first time I heard they were making a “universal remote,” I thought we finally had something that would help with the searches. Oh how disappointing it was to find out it only covered one universe—and that it didn’t include remotes in any universes.

At some point in the remote recovery process in most homes, someone usually sighs heavily and says, “What? I’m supposed to get up, walk across the room and touch the TV buttons with my hands? Like some kind of barbarian?”

Maybe it’s even more frustrating when you finally find the remote and, lo and behold, the batteries are dead. You press the button several more times. Then press harder. You bang the remote on the arm of the sofa a few times. Not because any of that works, but because it’s easier than getting up to get new batteries. Or walking across the room to push the buttons on the TV. Like a barbarian.

So what about our faith life? Would a remote control make it simpler? Nah, probably not. We’re called to more of a hands-on kind of faith. Sometimes we have to get up. We have to walk.

Faith that doesn’t result in action is as dead as a battery-less remote. It’s powerless. Useless. “In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself,” (James 2:17, HCSB). That kind of faith is dead because it’s not real faith at all. When Jesus comes into our lives, He changes us. How glorious it is when we find that the good things we could never do on our own are actually occurring. They happen not because we’re pushing all the right buttons. We don’t even have those buttons. We’re able to see the good works happening all because of the power of His Spirit at work in us. Not only couldn’t we do those things on our own, but we didn’t even have the want-to.

Thankfully, our God is in control of that too. Not remote control. Up-close-and-personal control. “For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose,” (Philippians 2:13, HCSB).

A person’s faith is personal. We can’t see what’s going on inside a heart any more than we can see a signal traveling from the remote to the TV set. But we know the remote is working when we see a channel change. There are evidences of a living faith in just that way. Change happens. When Jesus controls a person’s life, that control is validated by a new way of living—by a walk of faith, by good works, by obedience, by love.

O praise the God who works in the life of every child of His, in every corner of the world. Even the most “remote.”