Journal Entry // November 13, 2021
You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works;James 2:22 ESV
Faith completed by works… It’s interesting how easily we neglect this simple teaching from James. How we want to draw a line in the sand and separate these two ideals and set them against each other. Depending on your flavor of church, you will emphasize the one and relegate the other. Typically in my life, I tend to de-emphasize works and lift up faith as the ideal. Not from a spiritual, ideological, or dogmatic perspective. Mainly from the perspective of laziness. It feels easier to “have faith” and not worry about works.
But James is telling me a simple basic truth of God’s word. A truth that is really found on every page of the Bible. Faith without works is dead; works without faith is meaningless. The godly righteous man of God will have a deep faith that resonates with the heart of God. This faith will work itself out in daily life with works of righteousness. So my works of righteousness, done with pure and holy motivation, demonstrate and strengthen my faith.
I have been reading Daniel at this same time as James and I noticed this morning that when Daniel has a vision, the angel speaking to him started off by addressing Daniel with an amazing phrase… “O Daniel, man greatly loved.” Isn’t that how God surely addresses all his children? Isn’t it this great love from the Father that motivates me to faith and good works? Where is my heart in all of this?
I must always remember that both faith and works are important as I journey through this world. It is not enough to focus on one and neglect the other. They are two sides of a coin that need each other to lead a healthy life. The trials and adversity of life are meant to expose my heart and faith through my works and deeds. You can have faith as deep as Abraham had, but it was not revealed until he put it into action.
That’s my missing piece. God has been strengthening my faith. Rebuilding my broken world piece by piece. He has been strengthening and nurturing my faith. So what do I do with this faith? I love God and love others. I let faith flow out of me and onto the world around me. I engage this world with faith and obedience. Resting secure that I am greatly loved by my Father, I can put myself in relationships where I might get hurt again. My faith is not dependent on how others see me or view me or react to me. My faith is built on nothing less than Jesus’ love and righteousness.