September 1 I Thursday
1 Corinthians 12
“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” —James 2:17-18
There is a sad reality in churches today, where people come because they want the excitement, the wonder and the worship experience, but do not want discipleship, obedience or sacrificial living. These people have embraced cheap deliverance without sacrificial obedience. Their exchange with Jesus was more about what He could do for them and less about what they could do for Him. This is convicting as we can hear the words of Jesus, even experience His touch in our lives, but miss out on the fullness that He is prepared to give us.
In Jesus’s ministry on earth, He warns His listeners of the importance of hearing and responding to His message, not simply being fascinated by His miracles. He tells a story to the religious leaders in Matthew 21 about two sons who were told by their father to do the same thing, “Son, go and work today in the vineyard” (Matthew 21:28). One son says he will go but ends up not going, while the other son says he will not go, but ends up going. Jesus asks a simple question at the end of the story: “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” (Matthew 21:31). The religious leaders responded, “The one who went and did what the father had requested.”
Jesus’s point through that story is clear. It is not lip service that qualifies us for the kingdom, where we say the right words but neglect to carry them out. Rather, it is our obedience to the Father’s commands that welcomes us into God’s kingdom, as a life of obedience that matches our confession of faith reveals a true faith. Why is obedience so important? Because obedience is the fruit of repentance. Our faith is proven by our deeds, not simply by our words.
James 2:14 challenges us by questioning, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?” James talks about how we are to love one another in the church and to care for those who are in desperate circumstances. Yet, faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead. James goes on to say, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder” (James 2:19). Believing that God is God is not a saving faith, because even demons believe that. Our beliefs are expressed through our behaviours; we are to express and share God’s love through sacrificial obedience.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, may our faith be evident as we listen to Jesus’s will for our lives and walk it out in His strength.
Prayer: Dear God, may my faith in You be evident in my actions. Teach me how to embrace a life of sacrificial obedience to You. Thank You, God.