Scripture: James 2:14-26
Key verse: (26) “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.”
Reflection: There have been lively theological debates over the centuries about the book of James, particularly when his writings are compared to the Apostle Paul’s epistles. One commentator has noted that, “James and Paul are applying the same convictions to different circumstances.” Both agreed that faith is a free gift from God that can’t be earned, yet James emphasized that faith is something that is lived out and seen through action. It can be a challenge to put our faith to work by responding to the needs of others. We are tempted to focus on devotion to God; our own spiritual experiences and even preaching the Gospel, but if we ignore the plight of those living on the margins of life without care, compassion, food, housing, justice, hope or love, we are not living out faith. As followers of Jesus, our words aren’t enough. Faith requires more. If we don’t act on behalf of what we believe, James would say our faith is dead. Faith can’t be earned by good deeds, however, living out our faith is a natural response to the outpouring of God’s grace in our lives. We have the opportunity to give of ourselves, our resources and our social capital as an expression of the faith and love that God has so generously given us. We give our time, share our talents and give financial gifts in response to God’s leading; not to draw attention to ourselves, but to draw attention to God and what God has done for us. Many people are blessed when followers of Jesus live out their faith; not just talk about it. We are made right with God and one another when we receive faith and then get to work in the world around us.
How will you live out your faith today?
Prayer: Gracious God, we thank you for saving faith that has given us a sense of purpose and hope. Help us share this hope with others in such a way that lives are changed. Give us generous hearts that we might take hold of the life that really is life. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].