“What good is it… if someone says he has faith but does not have works?” (James 2:14)
True faith is proven by what flows out of our lives.
True Faith is not just accepting certain facts about God. It is not the commitment to religious rituals. It is not how we might feel about God. Or talk about Him.
True faith is seen when God does what only God can do, through our lives.
True faith is based upon the fact that we have become united with God (through Jesus!) – and Who He is, should be seen flowing from our lives.
True faith is what we see in Jesus. He was true faith in motion. Living, loving, and changing the world around Him, with the reality of God.
And we are all called to be just like Jesus! (Matthew 10:25; John 14:12)
For us, this is both exciting, and troubling, all at the same time.
In our verse today, James is saying that anyone can say they have faith. You don’t even have to have a real faith to say that you have faith. But if the life of God, and the works of God, do not flow out of our lives, our faith is really only meaningless talk.
Talk does not change the world. Only the loving power of God can do that!
That is why James was inspired to warn us all: “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead.” (James 2:26) Works is the proof that our faith is real – and alive!
But not just any works. We can get the idea that all we need to do is come up with a bunch of good things to do, and we have a real faith. Live morally. Treat people fairly. Try to take care of a problem or a need. Maybe, go to church… or pray a lot…
All these things are fine, but they are not the works that the Bible is talking about. Good works, in the Bible, are always God-works. They are what God does through us. So the real evidence of a real faith is when God shows up, through our lives. This is exactly the summary given by the apostle Paul: “For God is the One working in you both to will and to work according to His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13!)
All of us need to answer the all-important question: “Is my faith a true faith?”
And the only way we can truly answer that question is to take an honest evaluation of our lives. Is God at work through us?? Do people look at our lives… and see Jesus??
If not, then maybe the faith we have is just words, or ideals, or dogma – not works.
The good news is that no matter where we are, we do not ever have to stay there.
I have noticed something that I see in every person who has a true faith in God: they are always seeking God – they are hungry for His Presence in their lives. They rely on the truth of one guiding principle: “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8) They put this thought into practice, every day of their lives.
Every Christian needs a true faith. The world grows tired of Christians, in name only. They need a real encounter with Jesus – and each of us were created, and redeemed, exactly for that purpose!
Prayer focus: God, help me to take stock of my faith – and to honestly seek to be true to You, so that Jesus can be seen through me.