Stepping out with God…
“I will show you my faith by my works,” says James (Jas 2:18).
The works of which he speaks are not just righteous activity… boy scout “good deeds” or “paying it forward.” No, the deeds of which James speaks are deeds initiated by obedience and fulfilled by faith.
Perhaps the best way to explain this is using the example of financial giving. Paul praised the Macedonian churches because their giving was indeed a deed done from faith. He writes,
“In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.” (2 Cor. 8:2-5).
The Macedonian churches were the churches of Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea. These were Gentiles moved to “overflowing joy” by the saving grace of God which they had experienced. They had heard of the severe famine which had hit all Palestine and though they were themselves “In the midst of a very severe trial” (persecution), and in “extreme poverty” they gave with “rich generosity”… “even beyond their ability.”
The Macedonian believers had faith that the Lord would look after their personal needs, and so they acted. They did not wait until they had “extra” resources, but moved by the Spirit they obeyed… they joyfully obeyed, and gave.
Paul used these Macedonian believers as an illustration to the Christians in Corinth. He showed them the Macedonia’s faith by their works. This is what James is saying. This is what those godly men did when they put their foot forward toward the Red Sea and Jordan River (See yesterday’s blog). And this is what we must do if we, as Paul said, “walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Cor. 5:7).
Is God asking you to do something, something you must initiate by your obedience? If you do it… If you take that step… God will fulfill his promises and reward your faith.