What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action is dead.
Faith, according to Scripture, is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see. (Hebrews 11:1) Faith is the certainty of God at work even though we don’t physically see Him. If we open our spiritual eyes and ears, however, we will see God at work in amazing ways in our daily lives. Faith, however, is not activated until we take action, applying what we hope for and what we are certain of through our actions. We can pray for days or weeks for something and never participate with God to bring results.
I remember counseling a young woman who said her family was in financial stress. Her husband told her that she did not have enough faith that God would provide, but he refused to go to work! That is not faith. Faith prays and seeks God to lead and direct and is demonstrated through action. True faith is exhibited when we step out to do something that we believe God is calling us to do after seeking Him through prayer.
Joshua and the Israelites had to step out in faith to cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land. They had to believe that God was with them and they had to be certain of what they did not see. What they saw with their natural eyes was a swollen river that was impassable. But God promised them that He would take them into the Promised Land, and in order to do that they had to cross the river. God told Joshua to be strong and courageous and to keep the faith. And God sent His Presence in the form of the ark ahead of them and the Jordan parted. But, and this is a big “but,” the Israelites had to cross over; they had to believe that God would part the waters and they had to believe that when they got into the middle of the river, the waters would stay parted.
In our Scripture reading for today, James reminds us that our faith is not sincere if it is not accompanied by actions. When we see someone in need, we must help in any way that we are able. Ask the Lord to increase your faith in the unseen and your willingness to take action.
Forgive me when I have passed up opportunities to put my faith to action. Give me eyes to see those around me who need my help. Increase my faith to walk in the places where You have called me, knowing that You go before me and prepare the way.
In Jesus’ name, Amen