November 16, 2008

Believing and Acting

James 2:14-17, 26

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
James 2:26


Many of us are familiar with Paul’s agonizing words: “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing” (Romans 7:18-19). We agonize right along with Paul, for the same is often true in our life.

A wise person has said that we should imagine our actions written up in a feature story splashed across the front page of a newspaper. What would that look like? Scandals erupt because high profile Christians don’t behave like the believers they claim to be. But the tension between our walk and our talk brings dishonor to our Lord. There are many times when believers deserve to be called hypocrites. In those moments, our faith and deeds show a severe disconnect.

James speaks bluntly to this contrast between believing and acting. Our trust relationship with God must show itself in acts of obedience. Just nodding in agreement to a biblical teaching doesn’t transform the way we treat our next-door neighbor.

What about your faith? Is it authentic? Does it show others that you have a living relationship with Christ?

Real faith turns the misunderstood contrast between faith and works into a dynamic combination of faith and action.

Lord Jesus, change my heart so that my trust in you becomes a powerful, active display of your grace and power. Help me to serve you by serving and caring about others. Amen.

About the author — Harvey Brink

Rev. Harvey Brink has retired from active ministry in the Christian Reformed Church, having served congregations in Michigan, California, Iowa, New Jersey, Illinois, and
Washington. He and his wife Maxine live near their children and grandchildren in western Washington.

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