Real Faith is More Than Words, by Rick Warren in his Daily Hope devotion, June 8, 2020, at: http://www.pastorrick.com
James 2:14 — 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? (NLT)
In the United States, there are many people who say they are Christian. In fact, several recent studies reveal about 70% make that claim.
And, yet, many of these people appear to live according to their own rules, not by trusting in God’s Word. What they say about their faith and how they choose to live don’t line up. Real faith is more than just the words they say.
For instance, I could say I’m the best dancer in the whole world, but that wouldn’t make it true, and the moment I started dancing, you’d know it wasn’t true.
Just because you say you have faith doesn’t mean it’s true. This is what James is addressing here: what’s the use in saying you have faith, if it doesn’t show up in the way you live and the things you do?
James isn’t saying we are saved by our works. The Bible is clear that we are saved by faith in Jesus, nothing more and nothing less. But our attitudes and actions should be evidence of our faith.
There are thousands of promises from God in the Bible. You need these promises to stay stable and strong right now. But to access those promises, you need to fully trust God. That’s the kind of faith that will lead to answered prayers and a changed life. It’s a faith that will save you.
So how do you know if you have real faith, one that will stand up to life’s biggest pressures? Take a look at your actions and see if they back up what you say you believe.
As you do that, remember the Good News is there is no condemnation in Christ. If you think your faith hasn’t been real, then tell that to God. Tell him you haven’t been living according to the things you believe. Tell him you want to do that right now, and watch how he begins to transform your life.
James 1:22 — Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
Matthew 7:24-25 — (Jesus said), “Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.”
Romans 12:2 — Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is— his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Psalm 128:1 — Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him.
Deuteronomy 30:15-16 — See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
O Lord, we pray that you give us grace not only to be hearers of the Word, but also doers of the Word; not only to love, but also to live your Gospel; not only to profess, but also to practice your commandments; for the honor of your holy name. Amen.
–Thomas Becon (1512-1567)