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.”
James 2:18, NLT*
James talks about loyalty to God—faith—and about how that looks in the Christian’s life. He gives practical examples (don’t practice favouritism, actually help your friend instead of just wishing him well) and I think that’s so we’ll realize our faith isn’t something we compartmentalize. It’s meant to affect everything we do, say and think.
The good deeds he’s asking for are to grow naturally out of applying faith in Jesus to our daily lives. There’s no eternal value in good work without a heart for God. People judge by appearances and actions, but God looks at the heart.
If our faith is growing, it will cause visible changes in our lives. We’ll learn to rely more on God in our daily thoughts, responsibilities and experiences. That’s one reason a daily quiet time with God is so vital.
Remember James’ words on accepting the word of God planted in our hearts? Prayer, listening, reading the Bible are key ingredients in a growing faith.
In our culture of busyness, over-calendaring and of being always “on call” to texts, emails etc, the danger is that there’s no time for God. We’re busy, distracted, and it’s easy to take God for granted. But if we don’t read His word, don’t spend time getting to know Him, how will we know what’s true? How will we know how to live or have the confidence that He can—and wants to—help us? We’ll be the unstable people James warns us about in his first chapter.
God who created us, who knows our hearts, help us be intentional in taking time with You. Give us hearts that long to know You better and to please You. Give us wisdom in how to use our time so we can do what You’ve given us to do and yet grow in relationship with You and with those You’ve given us. Give us faith, and work that faith out in our lives in good works—not for You but because of You.
*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.