“For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.” — James 2:26 (ESV)
God has designed the Christian life to be one filled with adventurous and redemptive action — action that is fueled by the love and work of Jesus in our own lives. So great is God’s love for us that He would leave the glory of Heaven, take on flesh and destroy the power of sin and death with His loving sacrifice. God’s love was so great that He gave Himself up for us who are undeserving and could never repay Him. And He longs for His love to be the foundation for all we do, think and feel.
As Christians, we are called to reflect the love we’ve been shown in Christ through the way we offer compassion and love to those around us. God has appointed us as the sole carriers of His message of redemption for all. He longs to use you to share and exemplify the hope that comes solely through relationship with Him. Love does not mean all that much when it is merely an idea. The power of God’s love comes from the fact that it is an active love. It comes through helping a stranger, showing compassion and mercy to those who wrong you, serving someone while expecting nothing in return, and sharing the hope of Christ through word and deed. Jesus proved that love isn’t just an idea. Love does.
Bob Goff champions the cause for putting action to love in his book, “Love Does.” In it he writes, “He says to ordinary people like me and you that instead of closing our eyes and bowing our heads, sometimes God wants us to keep our eyes open for people in need, do something about it, and bow our whole lives to Him instead.” In his book, Goff articulates an important spiritual principle — your faith was never intended to be limited to hearing. Your faith was never intended to be limited to conversation. James 2:18 (ESV) tells us, “But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”
What does your love mean if it isn’t demonstrated? What would the love of God have meant if He stayed in Heaven and never suffered for us? How would you feel about God if He could have saved all of humanity but did not? Jesus would have been completely justified to stay on His throne. God would have been completely justified to wipe out humanity and start over every time we chose idols over Him. But instead He put action to His love for us. He committed the most incredible act of love possible in sending His Son to die for you and me. Jesus didn’t just talk about love. His love was demonstrated in every crack of the whip on His back, in every taunting word, in every nail that pierced His body, and in every excruciating gasp for air in which He prayed for us rather than end the torture. He lived out His love for you and me, and He calls us to do the same. First John 4:9-11 (ESV) says,
“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
Spend time with God today asking Him how you can put your faith into action. In what ways has the love of God been demonstrated to you? In what ways can you share with those around you the incredible gift that’s been given to you? Oftentimes, we think of the big things: leading someone to Jesus or selling everything we have. But putting your faith into works could be as simple as a phone call, a cooked meal, a kind word or a hug. Whatever God shows you, choose to live life as a believer whose faith and works are tethered, bringing redemption to a world desperately in need of God’s grace.
— Craig Denison, First 15
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