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Stupid people want proof

The title of this devotion might seem a little harsh, but you might be surprised that these are the words of James, the brother of Jesus!

18 I would answer, "Prove that you have faith without doing kind deeds, and I will prove that I have faith by doing them." 19 You surely believe there is only one God. That's fine. Even demons believe this, and it makes them shake with fear.

20 Does some stupid person want proof that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Well, our ancestor Abraham pleased God by putting his son Isaac on the altar to sacrifice him. 22 Now you see how Abraham's faith and deeds worked together. He proved that his faith was real by what he did.

James 2:18–22 (CEV)

James wanted his readers to understand that faith is imperative in our relationship with God. In our lives, it isn't easy to see the whole picture at once. We all have different roles and responsibilities. We have other relationships as well. In school, at home, at work, and at church, we are responsible for many different things and know many different people. It's easy to compartmentalize our lives, but when we do, we can be in danger of marginalizing our faith.

We might be dedicated students of the Bible at home or in a small group at church, but we miss the mark of application in other areas of our lives. We can find ourselves in a category defined by James, believing but not doing. Connecting the dots of faith can be a challenge in everyday living. Our faith should push us to be more like Christ, walking in love and kindness to our peers, family, and friends.

We can know of faith intellectually but miss the call to action that leads us to the obedience Christ desires and requires.

James reminds his readers that faith and action are linked. Now, it's essential to understand that he wasn't arguing that Abraham earned his righteousness by his actions; instead, he acted out of obedience as a response to his faith. We have been redeemed by Christ and should express our faith in all areas of our lives. We are enabled by His grace to do good works because of His good work in us!

We will never attain perfect obedience in this life, but our faith will continue to push us in our desire to walk in obedience and the love of our Savior. As we grow in our walk with the Lord, we should desire to apply what we know in our heads and feel in our hearts; our faith should produce good works.

James' sober reminder is that faith doesn't sit still, but it won't move on its own either. We should ask the Lord to ignite the desire to walk in faith that produces action in our lives.


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