Today’s Scripture: James 2:14-19
14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?
Today is Ash Wednesday – the start of the season of Lent. I hope you will join us tonight for our Ash Wednesday service on Zoom.
This passage from James is not a normal Ash Wednesday passage. However, I think it works all the same. You see Ash Wednesday is a time for us to examine our actions – our behaviors – the way we walk through this life. It is a day of confessing that we get it wrong – a lot. It’s a moment when we remember that the things we do have consequences – good and bad.
James is asking us to take a look at our behaviors – just as Ash Wednesday does. James connects those behaviors with our faith. If we say we have faith, but act in ways that are harmful or neglectful, we betray our lack of it. In other words, our faith will have real-world consequences. The question James is asking and Ash Wednesday demands is this: does our faith translate into the way we live our lives?
Does our claim to be a disciple show up in how we treat our family? Does our declaration of faith impact how we handle our money? Does being a Christian make any difference when faced with the ease of just following everyone else?
“I will show you my faith by my good deeds” says James. What exactly are WE showing the world about our faith with our daily actions?
God on this day of confession and repentance remind us that our actions speak loudly. May your Spirit convict us and show us the ways we need to adjust our living to be more in line with the faith we claim.
This Week’s Immerse Passages:
Week 7, Feb 15-21; Hebrews, James, John
Day 31 pp. 367-377 Heb 1:1-7:28
Day 32 pp. 377-387 Heb 8:1-13:25
Day 33 pp. 389-396 Jam 1:1-5:19
Day 34 pp. 397-411 Joh 1:1-6:70
Day 35 pp. 411-423 Joh 7:1-12:50