“I can’t and don’t pretend to know a whole lot about the different parts of speech,” Stan said one morning, “but I think I do know an action verb when I see one. And I think that is what James’ wrote about in one part of his letter that is near the end of the Bible.”
“Action verbs?” I responded. “He wrote about action verbs?”
“Well,” Stan replied, “not in the sense of the technical parts of speech, but certainly from the standpoint of telling his readers to do something, not just sit there.”
“Do something with what?” I asked.
“Their faith,” Stan responded. “What James wrote about was not a whole lot different from what the station master told you when you got your ticket and went to the train station to get on the train to glory. He told you to leave and go do something with your new-found faith.”
“And this applies not just to new-found faith. I think it applies to my faith wherever I may be on the path towards transformation, regardless of how far along I may be.”
Continuing, he said, “James has a lot to say about works and faith. Not from the standpoint of working my way to heaven, for that is impossible, but from the standpoint that my faith is to result in works, in doing something for God on this side of eternity.”
“And what if it doesn’t?” I asked.
“James calls it ‘dead’,” Stan replied.
“Dead faith,” I repeated. “Dead in the sense of not being real?”
“Not necessarily.” Stan said, “That is between a person and God for when it is time to step into eternity. But certainly ‘dead’ in the sense of not being alive on this side of eternity.”
“Having faith is supposed to make a difference. And that difference is not just for when I step into eternity.”
“No,” Stan continued, “my faith is to affect how I live on this side of eternity. I think that my faith is to define who I am and what I do while I work out the salvation that has been worked in by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
“Bottom line for me,” Stan concluded, “is that I think that my faith is certainly to be considered an action verb while I wait for the train!”
For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also, faith without works is dead. James 2:26.
Work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Philippians 2:12.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for all you did in awakening me to having belief and faith in you. Thank you for your provision of life eternally with you through the cross of Christ. I look forward to the day of stepping into eternity, but I also look forward to each day you have for me on this side of eternity so I can work out the salvation you have worked in through Christ Jesus. I confess that too often I do nothing with my faith, at least nothing in the sense of what you want me to be doing. Please forgive me. And please, Father, help me in following your lead in making my faith real, not dead, by works based on the fact of my faith. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Things to think (and journal) about:
1. What is your biggest take-away from this devotional?
2. What does this devotional say about God and about us as His people?
3. What is God saying to you to do personally?
4. Who can you share this with to make a difference?
Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to The Storyteller at: firstname.lastname@example.org.