“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without your deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that- and shudder.” [James 2:14-19]
Have you ever been really passionate about a certain thing? Maybe it was a sport, a hobby, a political platform, a charity or a job. Whatever it was you were passionate about did you just say you were passionate about it or did you do something about it? I think we can all realize that it’s pretty easy to see the things that we are really passionate about and the things that we just give lip service to. It’s those things that really stoke our passion that push us to act on our desires.
I think James is saying here that our relationship with God isn’t so different. He says that faith without works is dead. He says it doesn’t do any good to say you hope the poor find clothes and food if you’re not willing to help them get it. He even goes as far as to say that even the demons believe in God. So if we say we believe in God, but don’t live it out in our actions how are we doing anything different? That seems pretty intense, but James is making a very intentional effort to connect faith and action. He’s saying that demons believe there is a God and they do something about it. They seek to do the work of Satan by stealing, killing and destroying life. So if we believe in God and we believe He’s good, then let’s do something about it by seeking to speak, restore and give life!
Here’s what I’m NOT saying. I’m not saying that your salvation is based on works. Just go read Ephesians 2:8-10. It says that we have been saved by grace through faith, not by works. But then it immediately says that we’ve been created to DO good works. So we’re not saved by works, but we’ve been created to do good works. I’m also not saying that God expects you to be perfect. Opportunities to act on our faith will come and go that we miss, but God’s grace is always sufficient. There is always grace for the present and hope for the future to walk in faith the next time an opportunity presents itself.
So if you’re not passionate about who God is then what He’s done, then that’s the first step. Go read the Gospel story and ask God to stir up your passion and desire for Him. You cannot act on your faith without first receiving the love of Jesus. Then ask Jesus what passions He’s put inside of you that He wants you to act on!