Listening to James – Part 2

By: Pastor Jarren Rogers

“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

In James chapter 2, he once again prompts the Christian people to pick themselves up and get into action. 

He asks the crucial question: “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds?” (James 2:14).

He goes on to say that someone who has faith but no deeds to back it up is like someone who is approached by a person who is naked and hungry and simply says to them, “Go in peace. Be warm and fed.” What good is that to the starving person without any clothes!

Maybe more applicable for us is when someone comes to us with a very real need. Maybe what they need is something that we can so easily provide. Maybe they are hungry, and we are able to give them money to go to McDonald’s or buy them groceries from Kroger. But instead, all we do is say, “You’re okay. Good luck!”

What good is that to them? Kind words and well-wishes are of no help to someone who is hungry. 

Just so is faith without deeds. It’s pointless to believe that God can move mountains but never step out and allow Him to prove it. 

Sometimes we believe that God can do the impossible, but we are too afraid to take the first step. Many times, God is calling us in a certain direction, but we fail to leap into the unknown. The first act of faith is always the hardest. 

James specifically mentions Abraham as the perfect example. When God called Him to sacrifice Isaac, He had faith that God knew what is best. Abraham was prepared to be obedient to God all the way up to tying Isaac to the altar and grabbing the knife in his hand. He was ready to put his faith into action. And God provided.

But what if that never happened? What if God called Abraham to sacrifice Isaac but instead of going into action, the Bible simply said, “And Abraham had great faith in God but knew better than to sacrifice his only son.”

Would you really believe that Abraham had faith?

Or what about Rahab? What if when the spies entered the house the Bible said, “And Rahab had faith in God, but decided it was best for her to give up the spies position.”

Would you believe that Rahab should be considered righteous for her faith? Of course not!

Listen to James. He is telling us that faith without deeds is useless.

In fact, it should be our great faith in God and His plan that should push us into action in fulfilling it. Take the first step of faith. It’s always the hardest. 

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