James is adamant that we put feet to our faith. “Faith apart from works is dead” (verse 26b). Faith and works are two halves of the whole child of God we are called to be. We are not complete without BOTH pieces.
Faith in Jesus and the work He did for us on the cross is what saves us. But it doesn’t stop there. We have to move on from that starting place and become the sons and daughters He called us to be. How do we do this? By doing the things He calls us to do. Feed the hungry. Share the gospel. Minister to the sick. Care for the prisoner. Love your neighbor as yourself.
These are the acts of one who has truly had a change in their heart. These acts alone WON’T save you, no matter how many of them you do! But these acts in response to the change, through saving faith, make a difference in you and in the Kingdom of God.
The whole foundation is the relationship with Jesus. And that relationship begins with faith. When Abram was called to leave his home and go to an unknown land he had faith in the Messenger and so acted on the message. We aren’t told how he came to that faith beforehand but we see it in evidence. At that point there was NO WAY he would have been ready to sacrifice his son! The relationship had to be built stronger. Each day and each trial did that until he was at a place where he had complete faith in God and would do whatever He asked of him.
We don’t get a huge “faith shot” that makes us into “super Christians” when we ask Him into our hearts to be our Lord and Savior. Instead we begin to tend to that “mustard seed” faith He gave us. We feed it by digging into the word of God. We water it with our tears in prayer. We give it sunshine through our praise to Him. And it begins to grow. The more we feed it the more it grows.
As it burst forth from the ground it needs support to grow strong and straight. The supports are our works. We continue feeding, watering and giving it light but it needs more now. It also gives us more back. As it grows so does our ability to trust in it and our desire to make it even bigger. We do the work necessary to care for it. We begin to receive fruit from it too. Fruit that we can share with our neighbors.
The more you trust Him the bigger your faith seed grows. And the bigger it grows the more you want to do the things He asks of you. This is your relationship in action. Faith and works tied together; the two halves of the whole.
There was a LOT of growing between God calling Abram out of his homeland and Abraham offering his son Isaac on the altar. That growing only happened because Abram was willing to put feet to his faith. He was willing to do the work God called him to do. He stumbled and fell MANY times but his story didn’t end there. Because he was willing to get back up, repent for his errors, and try again to follow wherever God led him. The story would have been SO different if he hadn’t taken that first step away from all he felt familiar with.
Father God, thank You for taking us in this faith walk one day at a time. I can guarantee that I would not be able to do the things today if I hadn’t taken the first steps with You YEARS ago. You didn’t ask me to do anything “big” until I had learned to trust You and was doing the “little things” first. But You did require me to take those steps. You didn’t let me sit still and bask in the glory of having simple faith. You stretched my faith by putting before me tasks that required me to trust You even more. Only when I stepped into those tasks (works) did my faith in You grow to meet the challenge. Then I was ready for the next challenge. Daily You grew me, and still continue to grow me.
Thank You for never giving up on me, even when I didn’t “pass the test” set before me. You patiently encouraged me to get up and try again. I trust You will keep doing this until the day we meet face to face. You know what the future holds for us together. I know it will be awesome and also hard work. Lead on Lord and I will follow! I trust You to take me where You want me to be. Thank You for giving me the strength, talents, and faith to walk wherever You may take me. I CANNOT do it alone. Only through You can I make this journey.