Thursday – December 15, 2016
Read: James 2:14-17
Focus: vs 17
“So you see, it isn’t enough just to have faith You must also do good to prove that you have it. Faith that doesn’t show itself by good works is no faith at all – it is dead and useless.”
Christmas seems like the perfect opportunity to live out this statement that “it isn’t enough just to have faith – we must also do good to prove that we have it.” James says that “Faith that doesn’t show itself by good works . . . is dead and useless.” Wow! That hurts! If I love to study about God, and I really have faith in Him, and I can talk a good talk, and my words can persuade many to follow Him – and yet I don’t take time for good works, my faith is dead and useless?! That does not seem fair, on its surface. After all, we each have our own gifts and talents, right? So you can do lots of social ministry, and be all the time visiting the imprisoned, and clothing the naked – I’ll study hard and pray lots, and be very persuasive and perhaps win many to Christ – won’t that work? Well, James says not! He says that each of us must be doing both things – that our faith is made complete by our good deeds. Unless we do both, we are not truly a person of faith.
In one of our churches, several of us set up what we called a “Faith-Works Closet” where we kept a supply of clothing, household goods, personal care items, food, baby items, etc. But part of the area was set aside for literature and coffee and donuts and conversation. We hoped to share our faith and our good works. Leaving the results to God, we did our best to show true Faith – not for our own glory but because we are told by God to do this, not just on Christmas but all year long. I believe we were blessed and that we blessed others.
The year 2016 has been a rough year for Christians, I think. Every day, everywhere we looked, we were slandered and maligned and told that we need to be more tolerant of things God calls sin. Many of us did our best to stand up for the faith we have been given and to try to do good to as many people as we could. It seems that God has heard our prayers and honored our actions, but it also looks as though the battle between good and evil will continue raging – perhaps the best plan is to keep telling our world about the hope we have in Christ, while continuing the good works He calls us to do. “My heart has been stirred to action, Lord – Give me insight and strength to add mercy to my walk with You.”