How Do We Know if We have True Faith?

Photo taken by Ian Tan

Day 15 | Today’s passage: James 2:18-26 | Historical context of James

18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. 20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

“I can’t believe they did that to you, especially because they’re Christians. They should know better!”

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people relay stories of how Christians have hurt them, let them down or said unkind words. You’ve probably heard a story too. Maybe you’ve even experienced it yourself.

While the world may not believe in God, there is the unspoken expectation that Christians should be held to a higher standard. They expect us to live out our faith. And that is not an unreasonable demand, because, as James tells us, our actions should demonstrate to the world that we have a transformational faith.

As we profess that Jesus is Lord, we must demonstrate it through our acts of obedience to God, or in other words “good fruit” (Matthew 7:16-21). In James 2:18-26, the passage talks about how faith unaccompanied by deeds is “dead” or “useless”. What the author is inferring here is that it’s entirely possible to claim we have a saving faith when, in reality, we don’t have faith at all. Merely reciting God’s Word without practical, visible actions of obedience to God is pointless. Even the demons believe in God, James tells us.

So how do we know if we have true faith?
Real faith is more than a mental assent to the truth—it involves living action.

James goes on to talk about how faith and deeds are inseparable, as Abraham and Rahab demonstrated in their lives. Their works showed that their faith was in good working order.

In summary, faith produces good fruit. It’s exactly what Jesus says in Matthew chapter 7. “Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.” (Matthew 7:17-18).

Friend, the more I follow Jesus, the more I realize just how wonderful He is. Just how life-giving and freedom-bringing He is. If I want my friends to follow Jesus too, then I need to “show” them Jesus through my actions. How I live my life will speak louder than any Christian cliché I can mutter. We are ambassadors for Christ. Therefore, let our lives be an expression of freedom and love that can only be found in real relationship with Him.

—Rachel Moreland, USA

Questions for reflection

1. What can you do this week that would demonstrate your faith and the love of Jesus?

2. What steps can you take to strengthen your own faith, for instance, spend more time reading the Bible, pray more regularly, share the gospel with people who don’t believe in God?

Hand-lettering by Rachel Tu


Rachel is an American expat living in Edinburgh, Scotland. She is a writer, digital media buff and aspiring author. You can read more of her work about faith and mental health over on her blog, With love from Rachel. When Rachel isn’t writing, you can find her most days searching for that perfect cup of coffee in a cosy café, planning her next travel adventure and enjoying life with her husband, James.

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