What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
— James 2:14-17 NIV

show your work

Flashback to middle school, or high school, or maybe even last week in your calculus class and imagine yourself taking a math test. Now, imagine yourself reading the instructions of the test and seeing the most dreadful words that could ever pop up in the directions of a math test: “show your work.” Oh the dread that causes our minds as we all think the same thing: "what's the point of showing your work if you already know the answer in your head?"
In this passage, James was challenging the Jewish believers in that day to the same thing. He challenges them to externally show, proclaiming through their actions, the faith that they had in their minds and hearts. That is God’s heart for His children and the point that James was making in this part of his letter. If we as believers, in the love and grace of Jesus, don’t follow it up with our actions - what good is our faith to us?

a response to our faith

There are questions raised all the time about our faith in Jesus verses the good works that a believer does. Paul talks about this in Ephesians 2 and raises the point that we are saved by faith alone and not by works. So don’t get these two passages confused, because James is not combatting what Paul says. They actually go hand in hand. James and Paul both say that our works are a response our faith. This is important. If you believe that God is who He says He is and you believe that Jesus came and died for your sins, then you should be propelled into living your life in a way that leads you to do good things for the glory of Christ. 

Take some time to reflect. What is the state of your faith? Is it alive and full of the fruit of “good deeds” in your life, or is it fleeting or dead because it’s not followed by action? What is your motivation for the “good deeds” you do? Are they an effort to please God in hopes to earn His approval or even a ticket to heaven when you die, or do you love, serve, give, pray, worship, etc. because you recognize the love and grace given to you through Jesus’ death on the cross. His death and resurrection is something to celebrate, something to share, and something to motivate you to live your life with readiness to act to show someone the love of Christ that you have faith in. 

pray


God,
May Your love be my fuel to serve yYu. May my life be a reflection of Your heart for me God. Lord, thank You so much for your death and for seeing me as worth it. May that alone be my motivation to serve. God, give me opportunities to live out my faith for Your name. Thank You Lord. Amen

- Ladd Morgan