"As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead." James 2:26
Interesting isn't it?
Christianity is known as a "faith" or a "religion" or a "belief" and yet James closes out this chapter by declaring that faith without deeds is dead. In short he says, "Believing alone is not enough! The thing that gives life to your faith is what you do to give expression to what you believe."
The Book of James is known as being the guidebook for practical Christianity. You might say James is "Christianity 101". And it is written to the Church spread abroad following the persecution in Jerusalem. So, he is telling them that they are the first generation of the Church and of believers that their communities are going to see. What their neighbors think about the Church and the Faith will largely depend upon them!
Those things being true, you might think James would have spent more time dealing with doctrines and Biblical insights. But, instead, he gets right down to the issue of their witness and their testimony. How are they to live out their faith? What actions and lifestyle will they demonstrate as validation for their faith? That is what matters to James.
I believe that is what matters to your neighbors and your boss and your co-workers - how do you live? Are your actions and attitudes saying more than your words? Because if they don't, your words will have no credibility.
Too often, Christians allow themselves to get caught up in the debate over this doctrine or that doctrine or what version of the Bible is best and lose sight of the fact that it is their personal witness that will convince the unbeliever. I have seen Christians ignore obvious bad behavior among its members and then hammer them because they don't line up with some insignificant Biblical point.
Is James saying that it doesn't matter what you believe? Is he saying that we should fake it even if we don't believe it?
Obviously not! The point is very simple and basic, your faith is only as valid as the actions and attitudes it develops in you. You won't act right if you don't believe right. But your belief needs a means of expression and that is how you act. If you testify to godly beliefs but live like the devil it will do no good!
James was not from Missouri but he knew we live in a "show me" world. He is telling these first generation Church members, "show 'em what you got"!
How about you? What will you show to day? Will your actions animate your faith or kill it?