Action. Movement. Progress. Results in life matter. James challenges us to consider our results—the bottom line of our beliefs. What we believe impacts how we live.
But do our actions make us good enough for God? Does the salvation of our souls depend upon how well we live out the commandments? Must we work our way to heaven? Absolutely not!
Our One Word Devotional focus today is on the word action. Let’s see what James has to say about the importance of our actions:
Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:17 NIV)
So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead) (James 1:17 AMP).
These words have sparked controversy for centuries. But the exhortation here is not so much about how we get “saved.” Rather, what are the characteristicsof saving faith? Quite simply, if faith has no corresponding actions, it’s not real faith, James argues. Outward actions are merely evidence that our faith is “alive and kicking.”
Let me give you a practical illustration: I have two flower arrangements in my kitchen window. One is a beautiful vase of freshly cut flowers. Beautiful, but dead—those flowers can never reproduce. The other container holds a lovely potted bloom, its roots surrounded by soil, ready for planting. It will live and produce new blooms…again and again. This flower is alive.
In a similar way, true faith, by its very nature, will produce actions that correspond to our inner beliefs. This kind of faith is alive.
If you have trusted Jesus for your salvation—accepting His death and resurrection as payment for your sins—you are “saved.” Your righteousness is settled. You are made perfect in God’s sight by grace through faith. Period.
Such faith is alive and will naturally produce actions. This does not mean you are perfect all at once or that you will never fail. But you are alive, forever a member of God’s family. Once that question is settled, ask yourself: Since I believe, what is God asking me to do as a corresponding act of obedience?
God’s Word is also alive (Hebrews 4:12). It tells us how to live out our beliefs. The Holy Spirit gives us the power we need to follow the commands in Scripture.
Today, listen for your marching orders. What actions will you take after you read and meditate upon God’s living Word?
Lord, let my faith be alive and active. I come to Your Word for life, power, and inspiration. Remind me to care for the poor and the poor in Spirit. Give me Your eyes as I go about my business today and nudge me when to give a kind word, a helping hand, a few dollars. Prick my heart with an urgency for action. Break my heart for what breaks Yours.