For the next few months, I am preaching through James. The book of James sets an agenda for the church for how we might live as the people of God. James focuses his letter on the outward signs of faith that reflect the inward change that has taken place in the life of a believer. For James, faith is a “lived out” faith, demonstrated by what we say, what we do, and how we live. As I reflect on the teaching of James, I am asking questions about how this 3-fold focus applies to fulfilling the mission God has given us and our churches. Let us consider, then, how we might renew our faithfulness to God’s call on our lives.
How will we demonstrate our faith through what we say? The Bible has much to say about our tongues and how we use them. James reminds us of the importance of guarding our speech so that what we say brings honor to God and builds others up. Perhaps there are changes that need to be made in the way we speak – speaking more encouragement and less criticism, building others up instead of putting others down, offering godly and biblical council and not the wisdom of this world, the list goes on. We also use our tongues to lift up the name of Jesus. How do we make Christ known by what we say? We do so by the words of our testimony as we share with others what God has done for us and in us. We do so by sharing the good news with others and how they too may know Jesus as Lord and Savior. What changes might God have you to make in your speech? Who has God placed in your life that He wants you to share the good news? Are you ready? Will you be His voice?
How will we demonstrate our faith through what we do? The book of James speaks much of “good works.” A person transformed by faith in Christ will demonstrate his faith by his deeds. Specifically, God calls us away from a self-centered life to one that serves and ministers to others. Are you looking for ways that you might be the “hands” and “feet” of Jesus to someone? In what ways will you lead your family to minister to others this year? How might God have you use your gifts in service to others? What are the unmet needs around you? Might God be calling you to meet the needs of the poor or to “visit widows and orphans their distress”? How will your church serve the community around them that does not know Christ? Where might God send us with his gospel message?
How will we demonstrate our faith by how we live? As our culture moves farther and farther away from biblical values, a life lived for Christ will stand out. How will we keep from being caught up in the spirit of the age? What are some specific ways that others will see Jesus in us by how we live? Is there any noticeable difference in me because I am a Christian? – in the way I act, in the choices I make, in the way I spend my money, in how I use my time, in the priorities I set for my life, in what I’m teaching my children? What changes might God be prompting me to make? How will I truly live for Christ?
My prayer is that my time in James will lead to an ever closer walk with the Lord. I pray that through my speech, my actions, and my life that I would live a life pleasing to God. I pray that I would make Christ known in my life, in my home, in my family, in my church, in my relationships, in my work, in my community, in the world. Let us renew our commitment to love and serve Him. Let us purpose that as He works in us, that we may glorify God and make His Son known.