"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."
It seems that salvation lies at the very core of our beings. It cannot be touched by outward actions alone... no matter how dedicated or obsessed we are with obedience to the letter of the law, if our dedication does not seep far beneath the surface, then we are not converted. I've thought for a long time that part of knowing yourself and is becoming the same person in every situation... not changing depending on whether you are at home or with friends, or whether you are at work or school, and today, though I think that I have been learning it the hard way for a long time, I can see the deep truth that we have to be the same inside as well as outside. We can't just go through the motions of belief and dedication... we can't just act as though we know our God. If our faith doesn't reach down to the core of who we are, then it doesn't have a place in our souls at all.
The other day I was talking to a friend about one of her relatives that she was worried about. She said that she had prayed for this relative harder than she had ever prayed for herself... that she didn't know she had it in her. :) The truth is, she always has... and the rest of us have it as well, we just have to reach within us and find it... we can't be content to dwell only on the surface. The Lord requires the heart, and he does so because realizing that we have hearts, and including our hearts in our everyday decisions and actions, is necessary to becoming whole people. We can't dedicate our minds to one cause and our hearts to another or we'll tear ourselves apart, little by little. You have to live what you love to find any happiness at all... and the true, eternal happiness is to be found in learning to love and connect ourselves to Christ.