Some of the most convicting words in all of the Bible read: 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 (James 2:14-17 NLT).
Every time I read these words I get an emptiness in the pit of my stomach. Because I realize how apathetic I often get in my faith. Sure, I might talk a big game but I often fail to put my money where my mouth is.
It’s easy to believe that once we are in Christ, everything is hunky-dory. I’m in Christ so nothing bad can happen to me. I’m in Christ so He will take care of me no matter what. I’m in Christ so I can just offer a prayer up and everything will get better. I’m in Christ so I don’t have to worry.
But I’ve found that our “In-Christ-ness” is often used as an excuse to not actually live in Christ. God will take care of me, so I don’t need to get a job. God will heal me, so I don’t need to work the program. God is watching over me, so I don’t need to eat right and be healthy. God loves her, so I don’t need to share my faith. God provides for people, so I don’t need to be generous.
See what I mean? And we could keep going. It’s easy to lead an apathetic life when we disconnect our faith from our actions. And before all the naysayers step in with “But what about…” Let me go ahead and answer your rebuttal…
Yes, we are saved by faith alone. Yes, salvation is a free gift of God. No, you can’t earn your way to God. Paul was right in Ephesians 2, we are saved only by faith in Jesus. But our dear friend James, whose words we read up top, carries the same Scriptural authority as our beloved Paul. And James tells us that faith without works is dead. And I daily need this reminder.
We need to be reminded that we exist as a people who love. A people who work out our faith. A people who take action. A people who believe that our tiny little action of giving a sandwich to the hungry, a dollar to the beggar, or a coat to the freezing is an outworking of our faith in Christ.
Faith does not only mean belief… Faith means action. Faith means we do whatever we can to love. To share. To be generous. And to point people to Jesus.
Reflecting on the paralyzed man who was lowered through the roof in Luke 5, Shan Wood noted that apathy says, “My friends will find their way to Jesus.” But actions says, “I’ll get my friends to Jesus.” You see the difference? If the man’s friends weren’t living out their faith, the poor fella would have still been laying on his mat unable to walk.
But because they were living out and acting upon their faith, this man not only received the ability to walk, but also had his sins forgiven. I heard one speaker say once, “Small acts done with great love can change the world.” And that’s exactly what it means to act on your faith. Our actions may be small. But our God is big. And He asks each of us to act on what we believe, trusting that He will do more than we could imagine.
So what’s it look like for you to live out your faith? To choose action faith over apathetic faith?
Well, maybe it means…
You start volunteering on a weekly basis.
You start giving to God first.
You start a conversation with the neighbor.
You welcome in foster children to your home.
You tell your family that Jesus has changed your life.
You ask for forgiveness.
You start the non-profit.
You give up some of your stock piled food and toilet paper.
You care for refugees.
You forgive those who hurt you.
There’s a wide variety of ways to take action in our faith and we’d love to hear how you’re taking action. Drop a comment below to let us know ways to live out our faith!