Faith in Action
JAMES 2: 14-17 Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?
18 I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, “Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I’ll handle the works department.”
Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.
19-20 Do I hear you professing to believe in the one and only God, but then observe you complacently sitting back as if you had done something wonderful? That’s just great. Demons do that, but what good does it do them? Use your heads! Do you suppose for a minute that you can cut faith and works in two and not end up with a corpse on your hands?
21-24 Wasn’t our ancestor Abraham “made right with God by works” when he placed his son Isaac on the sacrificial altar? Isn’t it obvious that faith and works are yoked partners, that faith expresses itself in works? That the works are “works of faith”? The full meaning of “believe” in the Scripture sentence, “Abraham believed God and was set right with God,” includes his action. It’s that mesh of believing and acting that got Abraham named “God’s friend.” Is it not evident that a person is made right with God not by a barren faith but by faith fruitful in works?
25-26 The same with Rahab, the Jericho harlot. Wasn’t her action in hiding God’s spies and helping them escape—that seamless unity of believing and doing—what counted with God? The very moment you separate body and spirit, you end up with a corpse. Separate faith and works and you get the same thing: a corpse.
Sometimes, FAITH gets treated like it’s supposed to have some power to it alone, as though when you find God or get saved, you crossed the finish line and stuff isn’t supposed to harm you anymore. We don’t mean to have that relationship with it but we do. Sometimes. Sometimes, we think that because we do stuff and get away with it or God doesn’t call us out and let us be embarrassed to make it clear and right, we think that FAITH covers us and keeps us from all hurt, harm, danger and strangers we let into our lives and heart. Sometimes. BUT, let’s be clear:
It is not the job of faith, yours or anyone’s, to indemnify you, nullify your actions or verify God, vilify God if things don’t go your way.
Faith is a noun rooted in verb not verbiage. More than just talking but taking a chance that the outcome isn’t finished, just moving in a direction where it hasn’t arrived just yet.
Faith, without the stuff of Christian cardio, is dead like disconnected phone lines and broken family lines. They can be fixed again, but it takes work.
IF YOU’RE GOING THROUGH HELL, KEEP GOING (Winston Churchill)
See, FAITH is the reason I don’t ride rollercoasters. I don’t need to exhaust MY PERSONAL, PARTICULAR PRAYER POWER crying out to the loud over every dip and dive that I knowingly put myself into. I save my faith for rocking planes and empty pockets and dark nights when I don’t think I might back it.
The time I had to get back on a plane in September 2011, after Aaliyah and 9/11 and the moment when the pilot reminded us of our plight on the flight, God reminded me of my faith in the race.
FAITH will get you through your biggest challenges but FAITH will also bring you to them as well.
YOU NEED YOUR FAITH, so when things get weary or you feel like you might worry, don’t swallow your faith, thinking I AM SUPPOSED TO KNOW BETTER. You need to pull out your FAITH like a bazooka!