April 18, 2016
READ: James 2:14-26
Even the demons believe this (v.19).
Jean Vanier, founder of the L’Arch communities, has spent his life loving those often ostracized by society. L’Arch creates living communities for those with disabilities or those who, because of their need for intense care, would be institutionalized if they didn’t have such a home. Vanier talks about how the communities are centered around the most basic acts of caring for the physical body—bathing, dressing, and feeding residents who can’t do those things on their own.
The work of L’Arch resonates with James’ forthright question: “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions?” (James 2:14). Faith isn’t merely a mental category or an abstract idea, but a life infused by truth and the practice of it.
Faith that merely manifests itself in words but doesn’t express itself in our life isn’t true faith. When we see another human destitute and in danger and merely pat him on the back, offer him an empty blessing, or an off—handed comment in wishing him well, we face James’ rebuke: “What good does that do?” (v.16). The answer is plain: This kind of pious inaction does no good at all.
In fact, a half—baked faith is no better than the faith of demons. James wrote, “Even the demons believe” in this way (v.19). True faith acts. True faith receives what God says, and then true faith moves in response. True faith—deep belief—isn’t merely a matter of using our mind but also our body, our will, our hopes, our desires, and our commitments. Faith is demonstrated as we trust God and then obey and follow Him in action. True faith is far better than anything a demon has ever known, for true faith flows from God Himself.
365-day-plan: 1 Kings 17:1-24
Read 2 Peter 1:5—8. How does Peter suggest our faith is supplemented or fulfilled? List everything that he says should accompany faith.
Where is your faith being called into action today? What has sometimes held you back from a bold step of faithful action? How can true faith help you move forward?