From Paul to James…

In the Bible a man named Paul wrote a letter to a young man that he was mentoring named James.  In this letter Paul says this, “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say that you have faith but don’t show it by your actions?…You may say that you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you!  Even the demons believe this… Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.”  James 2:14-26

I’ve been thinking about this passage for a bit.  I find in my own life that I confess that I believe in God, but I have a really hard time following that up with my actions.  Why?  I know the truth of Christ is the right way to live.  Why does the truth that I read with my eyes and hear with my ears rarely affect my actions?

When I’m driving in my car and someone commits a vehicular offense against me, I find it way easier to use my horn, than to let them go with just a wave and smile.  I would much rather let that person know that they made a mistake, maybe follow them to their destination and have a friendly chat that 4 miles back you cut me off.  Then pull out a pair of scissors and cut up there drivers license into a million little pieces and say something like “this really is for your own good”.   That sort of thing does cross my mind every once in a while.  And I know that sounds a little crazy, but don’t judge.  At least I admit it.

Now I’m not saying that we don’t stand up for ourselves.  I mean we shouldn’t let people just walk all over us.   But I guess my point is that when we choose to do good like the Bible says that “doing” exposes within us some ugly things.  I mean doing good is tiring at times.  Otherwise the Bible wouldn’t have said to not grow “weary” in doing good.  The implication is that doing good can be exhausting for our human nature.  I learn more about my weaknesses when I attempt to live the way that God wants me to.  It’s hard to be a decent human being.

When we do good it does cause us to analyze our motives and it forges within us a life that God wants us to really live.    Doing good is less about the person who is receiving and more for the person that gives.  It’s what we call the action of working out our faith.  We are putting into practice something that wouldn’t come naturally to us so that over time it does become second nature.

So may your faith grow everyday in knowledge, but also in every action that you commit.  It’s a spiritual circle.  You have faith in God and your actions begin to reflect what you say to be truth and that in turn only stands to make your faith stronger.  I mean I can’t think of something that the world around us needs more than people who set out to produce good.

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