“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (James 1:26 NKJV)
Martin Luther didn’t like the book of James, in part because of verses like this. I think he misunderstood James. Far be it from me to correct Luther, but James makes an important point with this whole chapter. I believe that what he’s trying to say is that if you have faith, it will show in the way you live. The examples that James gives are simple examples of things we should be doing because of our faith: treating rich and poor alike, meeting needs with action instead of platitudes, and showing mercy to others. He would say that if your faith doesn’t move you to that kind of action, then what you have is a nice warm feeling about God, but not true ..faith.
True faith will affect you so that you care about people and work to help them deal with issues instead of just saying, “Trust God and everything will be ok.” Faith is not a personal opportunity to retreat from the world because everything’s right between you and God, faith is a call to charge into the world, meeting needs and caring for people just like Jesus would. The long and the short of it is that your faith in Jesus Christ should make you a better person who finds ways to help people. Faith isn’t just about having a nice warm feeling about God. Faith is about honoring our relationship with God by doing good for all people.
Lord, there’s a world of need and hurt beyond the walls of my home and my church. While I can’t meet all those needs alone, Your people can make a difference in the lives of so many people by reaching out and helping. Let us show the world our love for You by the way we love others, especially those in need.