James 2:14-16 says: What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
This scripture has the habit of stopping people in their tracks—especially those of us who approach the Bible as a legitimate guide for our lives. The passage goes on to explain that faith by itself isn’t enough. Only when faith leads to action is it of any use.
When we read passages like this, it can be so natural to experience wide emotional swings between feeling condemned and beat up for our lack of action, then vacillating over to feeling smug and self-confident when we actually do something.
But when we look at things honestly, we must acknowledge God as the source of both our faith and any lasting works that result from our faith. And then we realize once again that the key to a successful spiritual life does not lie in our ability to judge ourselves or others, but in our ability to both receive and offer mercy as a free gift.
In fact, all in life is gift. We have all received freely, and we are invited to give it away just as freely.
What if we actually lived like we believe that God loves the poor and needy? (He does.)
What if we actually lived like we believe that God hears every cry and sees every tear of the lost and lonely? (He does.)
What if we actually lived like we believe that God routinely identifies Himself with the beggars on the street? (He does.)
What do you think? Leave a comment below.
Feel free to click on the link to take a look at our Bible passage for the evening: James 2:12-26.
And come join us this Sunday at 5 PM as we CONNECT with a challenging message called “Mercy Triumphs over Judgment”.