Posted on August 5, 2015
James: Faith Meets Reality—Live Out Your Faith!
Today we wrap up our study of James. Thanks for joining me as we’ve learned how Faith Meets Reality. I’ve enjoyed sharing this journey with you, and am already looking forward to the next study that brings us together!
Our lives are full of challenges that test and stretch and grow our faith. Whether we’ve been walking with Christ for a month, a decade, or a lifetime, we may find ourselves struggling at times to maintain trust in God or to figure out how godly faith handles practical daily circumstances. The letter of James was written to Christians who knew that struggle, who had faced obstacles great and small, and who were learning to honor God through them all.
James provides a “checklist” to help Christians judge the mettle of the faith we profess. Lip service won’t do; we need faith that works in the real world. Faith that produces “fruit.” Faith that can be seen in the way we live life.
Look at this fifteen-point faith assessment from James. How does your faith stand up to this test? Do you have faith that
- endures trials, developing patience and godly wisdom through them? James 1:2-12.
- understands temptation, refusing to be fooled by satan’s schemes, or to slide into sin? Instead, it is equipped to resist the devil, acting as a shield (Eph. 6:16). James 1:13-18.
- obeys the Word, both hearing and doing it? Genuine faith should change you. It should affect your decisions, your attitudes, your behavior, your relationships—in short, every part of you. James 1:19-27.
- is impartial? It refuses to be influenced by favoritism or swayed by prejudice. James 2:1-13.
- displays itself in visible works? It lets its light shine! James 2:14-26.
- controls its tongue, not allowing harmful words to flow unrestricted? Instead, it uses words to build and strengthen. James 3:1-12.
- acts wisely, with wisdom that finds its source in heaven? James 3:13-18.
- chooses friendship with God over friendship with the world? James 4:1-4.
- acts humbly and dependently upon God? James 4:5-10.
- refuses to act as judge—taking on a role that belongs only to God—instead choosing to encourage and uplift others? James 4:11-12.
- causes you to do what you know to be good? James 4:13-17.
- handles wealth responsibly, using its blessings to bring God glory? James 5:1-6.
- looks forward in hope to Christ’s return? James 5:7-8.
- stifles complaining when under pressure, and instead prays? James 5:9-18.
- motives you to actively love—and sometimes even rescue—others? James 5:19-20.
Use this checklist to read through the book of James one more time, noting how James fleshes out each point. Pick your three strongest areas, praising God for building those aspects of your faith. Then raise to God your three weakest areas, seeking His power to help your faith grow.
My favorite verse in James is one you’ve hopefully memorized during this study. James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the victor’s crown—the life God has promised to those who love Him.” Are you reaching for the victor’s crown, actively striving in the midst of life’s real struggles to build up your faith? The reward will be well worth the effort. Don’t give up. Live out your faith!
Thanks again for sharing this study with me. We’ll begin a new study in September, with a weekly post each Wednesday. In the meantime, I’d encourage you to read back through each of the posts in James: Faith Meets Reality. If you’ve missed learning some of the memory verses or skipped looking up some of the Bible references, take the time to do it now. Solidify in your mind the ultra-practical teaching of James, trying to absorb all you can to build up your faith. See you in September!
© Diane McLoud 2015