Day 36: The Response of Faith
Scripture to meditate on: James 2:14-26 Faith Without Works is Dead
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 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.
You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
I was puzzling over finding joy in the fall of last year. There just did not seem to be much joy in my life. I sat with one of the pastors at Fairfax Church to discuss this one day and was surprised to find that the theme for Advent that year was joy. I cannot remember the conclusion of my conversation with the pastor but do recall not much later determining that I find much of my joy in serving others.
Since I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior and became active in recovery groups, I have come to realize the benefits of service not only to those who are on the receiving end but to those who serve. Over the years I have served as an acolyte, chaired weekly recovery group meetings, worked with the homeless, served on the board of a church for the homeless, and worked with various charitable organizations. When I serve, I can feel the Holy Spirit working in me and that strengthens my faith. If I am having a hard time hearing from God, I know that an act of service will wake me up to his presence.
In recovery groups we say you have to give it way to keep it… most often by helping another person in recovery. I know that only by the Grace of God and my trust, and faith, in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, am I in recovery. I know that my life of sobriety and salvation is a gift from God. I can and have to pass on the gift of God’s grace and mercy to others around me in need. I cannot just have faith that Jesus, Emmanuel, God With Us, has a plan for me. I have to help others find the faith and trust that God has a plan for them also.
Jesus said it best, I believe, setting the example as recorded, in John 10:37-38. “Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” We can show others that we have faith by doing the work of the Kingdom, loving God, and loving our neighbors as ourselves. I say not only is faith without works dead but faith without love is dead!
Questions to ponder:
- What does this passage say about God?
- What does this passage say about me or my relationships?
- What should I do in light of this passage?