It’s been 10 days since the birth of our daughter Gianna Linn LaFrance. At times, it can feel like it was yesterday. The miracle of birth is a true blessing. So I wanted to find a way to connect today’s passage to her birth. In readings today’s passage of James 2:14-20 we get a chance to take a closer look at our faith. What a great reflection for ourselves and for our children. Is it living or dead? Let’s read the scripture together.
Faith without Good Deeds Is Dead
14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?
When I first read these verses by James I think about the amazing “Faith & Work” that was created by Charlie Welke and other amazing young adults at Eastview. Here you can find some amazing testimonies and more to encourage, remind, and highlight this journey of Faith & Work. (click to hear more)
Throughout the book of James and in our verses today, James offers a series of tests we can take in order to take a pulse on our faith. It is like 2 Corinthians 13:5 where we are asked as followers of God, to test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine self. So today, with myself and our children in mind I’d like to think of it as a test, and a prayer for what God is doing and what He can do when our faith is alive. Back in James chapter 1:2-13 James we looked at tests under trial. How are we responding in these trials? Am I controlled by my circumstances? ( Living or Dead Faith? ) Next up in James 1 we looked at testing with temptations. Where do I place the blame? (Living or Dead? ) Beginning in James 2 we looked at testing of how we treat the poor and needy. What are our responses? How do we show love? (Living or Dead Faith? )
Now, here in James 2:14-20 is the test of works. Is there righteous actions? Righteous behaviors? Are we obedient to His Living Word? How am I truly living? How do I pray for others to be living? (Living or Dead Faith? )
After taking these tests, I can only put my head down and hands up while turning to prayer. I ask for forgiveness because I know many times I can have the words, and fall short in faith. (Dead) The wonderful news is how Jesus transforms us and He is always at work on our hearts and souls. Ephesians 2:10 reminds us that we are his workmanship, created in Christ for good works.
My prayer for us, for our families, for my 3 children including 10 day old Gianna, is that we have a Living Faith! One that doesn’t change with our circumstances, that in all trials we face we have a faith that we are never alone. We give it all to God. That in our temptations and desires of this world now let alone what our children face – we battle. We put on God’s full armor, placing no blame on Him, allowing His perfect plan to take place. I pray we recognize and take action for those in need. That our actions and words are full of love and without judgement. Romans 2:6 says He will render to each one according to his works.
God, I pray that in every day you give us we have a Living Faith, a faith that transforms us in all that we do. In our thoughts, words, and actions glorify you, and reflect a Living Faith that you have tested us on here in James. Our lives won’t be marked by the day we were born, or the day we die, but by a Living Faith that shines for you. Amen
Have a blessed day.