What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:14-17
I heard a really great description of faith recently, and I thought I’d share it with you.
Faith consists of three parts: knowledge, belief, and commitment. Another way you could see this is that you get input about a situation, it must take root in your heart to be the truth, and then you must walk it out in action.
For example, let’s say you’re in a very large auditorium with a number of other people and it has been announced that there is a fire in the building and you must get out. You’re faced with a challenging situation, and perhaps this is your first visit to this building so you don’t actually know how to get out yourself. Luckily, someone comes on stage announces the way to the exit.
The first step to your solution is someone presents you with knowledge or input. However, just getting input about this situation doesn’t actually save you. Being presented with the truth of the Word of God in itself doesn’t assist you in life at just the point that you hear the instructions found therein.
The second step to your solution is you have to believe or trust that the person giving the instructions actually knows what they are talking about, and that the knowledge they have given you is true. That instruction must take root in your heart and you must put belief into it.
The third step to your solution is commitment to taking the knowledge you’ve been given, and believing it so deeply and truly that you are willing to take action and walk it out. In the fire situation, knowing the way to the exit, and believing those instructions to be true don’t actually get you out of the building!! You must stand up, take courage, and walk those steps to the door.
So many of us get hung up on the faith vs. works debate, but they are not mutually exclusive. You must have works to see faith realized, and it’s rare to see works completely absent of faith. I do love this analogy, though, and it’s very convicting because I know there are things I claim to have faith about, but see myself stopping short of actually walking them out in my daily life. I tend to have no shortage of information, and for a good lot of it don’t have a problem believing it either. It’s the standing up and walking for me.
I pray that all who have a heart follow Christ would press on and see their faith realized in their actions. Help us, Holy Spirit, not to fall short of reaching the potential of our faith by stopping short by failing to get Your truth into our lives, or letting the enemy compete with His lies. Guide us as we walk our faith out to completion. Amen.