What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. James 2:14-18
At my church, we have been going through the book of James for the past few weeks. Let me tell you, James did not waste time getting in your face. If you don’t want to get your feet stepped on, you better avoid James. (Seriously, you should totally read James.)
My faith was born when I was just a seven year old girl, and I had no trouble in believing the Gospel as truth with my childlike faith. I just didn’t know how to put it to use. Growing up in a Malayalee Brethren church, I was always surrounded by sound doctrine, inductive Word studies, and etc. Essentially, there were was (and still is) a lot of Teaching happening in the church. However, that’s not what God created us to do solely.
Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with having a love for the teachings of God’s Word. I think there is dire need for more people to delve into the holy, God-breathed, living Word of God. How can you truly know God if you don’t read and study His personal writings to us?
Jesus said that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. If you know anything about farming or even gardening, you know that there’s much effort put forth. Yes, only the Holy Spirit has the power to let that seed grow, but it’s our job to cultivate. Before you can plant, you have to soften and fertilize the soil. Even after you see the shoot, your job isn’t done! You water these young plants and keep a watch for predators that try to snatch the fruit. This is a picture of discipleship. The best example was laid out by how Christ invested His time, teaching, love, prayers, and service to His disciples.
But be DOERS of the word, and not HEARERS only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:22-27
Growing up, how often would our parents tell us to go clean our room, but hours later, we were still playing video games or watching tv? The same thing happens now. How often does God tell us to do something, but we drag our feet instead of obeying? How often do we see strangers or even friends in need, and our knee-jerk response is “I’ll pray for you” instead of giving a helping hand when you KNOW you can? I know that’s a huge generalization, but I hope you understand the principle I’m trying to portray. There are daily circumstances that we actually have the power to change.
God placed you here for a reason. Yes, He desires an intimate relationship with you, but the greatest way of showing your love for God is by obedience to His Word. Sometimes, we’re so self-absorbed to notice what is right in front of us, but we are called to be Christ-like by our words, actions, and attitude. Maybe it’s cooking a meal for that family with three sick kids at home. Maybe it’s mowing your grouchy neighbor’s lawn. Sometimes, it’s just taking time out of your life to listen to someone. It could even be sharing your testimony to that friend or coworker that is not a believer. (Believe me; I’m speaking these words to myself as much as to you.) Invest your time into another person, and be a doer.