Scripture: James 2:14-17, 24
Just like James 1- ‘If a person claims to be religious and does not keep a tight rein in on their tongue, their religion is useless.’ James is making a convincing argument that our Faith is manifested in what we do and say. People today hate to be told what to do; and thus have looked for the easy street of faith. People somehow have gotten the gospel twisted into this misconception that a prayer or religious activity once and for always can save a person from hell and deliver them into Heaven. That somehow we can choose to accept the philosophy of Christ without allowing it to transform us and still participate in the fullness of blessing. This is a tragedy and has been going on since, well, forever. Before I start to sound too hardnosed; we are saved by GRACE, through faith. It is God’s grace that does the work of salvation, but it is the vehicle of faith that delivers the grace to redeem. James is saying – Grace without faith cannot save. James is saying that we must make the decision to allow faith in God to perpetuate inner movements that manifest signs in our lives. James goes on to talk about the sign of obedience in the life of Abraham and the sign of reverence and protection of promise in Rahab. Our faith must influence our lives at a core level. It is impossible to have absolute faith in God and not be moved by Him. It is impossible for God to be our peace and speak chaos; and it is impossible to believe in a God who can and will move mountains and to shudder every time a speed bump comes along. It is no good for us to profess faith in Jesus and let it stop with the profession, but rather we must allow faith to produce works. We are not saved by our works – even our best is filthy- but our faith is proven when we respond to God with our lives, our words, our actions and in obedience to His call and purpose for His glory. We can talk about faith, we can agree on the things written about God in the Word, but that is insanity on it’s own, how can we wallow and wade in filth and poverty and claim to be well and healthy and do nothing to improve our situation. It’s like being hungry and saying ‘I have food to eat’ but even when we are spoon fed we refuse to swallow. We must maintain responsibility to the faith we profess by allowing it to move us, prove us and groove in us.
I must remember that God is pushing me outside of myself on a consistent basis so that faith might thrive in me and His story is made famous. Preaching is easy to do – There is nothing more agreeable than, ‘God love you,’ and ‘His promises are great and precious.’ The hard part is living out these truths, laying down my guilt-driven motivations and being motivated by a God who has plotted out Glory holes in my life. I need to not just believe in God, but to consistently respond to Him. When I do that, The world is white for the harvest and I can do all things through Christ.
Faithful God, thank You for still loving me through seasons of lack, lack of faith, lack of motivation, lack of obedience. God You have called me to so much more than I have ever realized. Open my eyes to your promise and give me the courage to go hard after your call. Show me Lord that without You I am nothing. Teach me God to respond to your grace with faith – faith that finds it’s manifestation in my words, the works of my fingertips and in the story of a life well spent on Your glory. Thank You for your grace,- Now give me faith. Amen