Faith, by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Believe is the verb to the noun of faith. True faith is not mere intellectual acknowledgment, but moves from a noun in the head to the verb of believe with the hands and feet. Genuine faith never remains static but always results in responding with action.
I have driven across some impressive bridges. When I lived in Michigan, I had occasion to drive over the Mackinac Bridge and the Blue Water Bridge many times. If one is afraid of heights, it can seem a bit daunting to go over them. Let us suppose that I come to one of those bridges, stop and read the sign that tells all about how and when the bridge was built. I take some time to look at the large structure. I conclude that the bridge indeed can hold me and my car driving over it. But if I turn away in fear and do not cross the bridge, do I really believe the bridge will do its sustaining job?
The Apostle James’ point is that faith and action work seamlessly together. Biblical faith logically and fearlessly moves right into action and crosses imposing bridges based upon the object of our faith: God. Since God is good and trustworthy, we can respond to his Word with appropriate actions. There are plenty of Old Testament persons that give us example of living by faith. Abraham did not simply acknowledge God’s speech to him; he acted upon it. Abraham believed God, that is, he not only understood God’s Word, but his faith was confirmed and counted as righteous because he acted by following through with what he heard.
We like our comfort zones. We do not typically like to be stretched beyond what is familiar to us. Yet, faith is a muscle that must be exercised in order to grow. If faith is not put to the test and placed in positions of stress, it will not grow. Our spiritual growth occurs when we take the time to hear and understand the Word of God, and then seek to put it into practice no matter what. We have the same choice and opportunity as all the people of faith who have gone before us. Let us choose with faith and action working together.
Lord God, what do you want me to do today? As I step out in faith, I know that you will hold me up and sustain me in doing your will. May your glory be shown through my obedient response to your Word. Amen.