“What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” - James 2:14-17 (KJV)
In these verses, James gives a very clear definition of works (clothing the naked and feeding the hungry) done by those who have “faith.” This is the simplest demonstration of faith works. In essence, if you have the means and are neglecting the people in your life who have these needs, you are declaring to everyone around you that your “faith” is nothing more than empty words.
If we make an analogy of faith and works with faith being your heart and works being the pulse, what would your pulse be?
Works can take many forms and some are easier than others. Clothing the naked and feeding the poor are generally easy to do if you have the means, and they don’t require a lot of faith to carry out. Others however, may require an intense focus of our whole heart on Jesus to strengthen us to do.
“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” - Col 3:5 (KJV)
If you have come to Christ while living in any of these ways, it will take you more of a faith focus on Jesus to overcome them, than it would for someone who has never been literally involved in these activities. At any rate, if you are in control of these areas of your life, you will appear to have a greater “faith pulse” than those who don’t.
“But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:” - Col 3:8-10(KJV)
Again, these are “works” that reveal your “faith pulse” or lack of it and they are scattered throughout the Bible. In any area you struggle, your faith is in question just the same as the one who fails to clothe the naked or feed the poor. This is not meant to be condemning but only a way of “examining yourself.” It is very important to understand that the people of the first century Church were fully instructed on how to appropriate God’s strength and grace to succeed in all of these directives. They knew that in themselves, they were not able to keep these commands and they also knew that sometimes they didn’t even want to. However, they knew that by keeping their eyes fixed on Jesus exactly like they did when they first came to him, he would strengthen them and also change their desires. Now, 1900 years later, when we first hear these directives, unless we have been instructed on how to keep our eyes on Jesus every moment, we may lose heart because we know that we will fail to live up to these standards.
“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” - Col 3:12-13 (KJV)
As we keep our eyes “fixed on Jesus” God will give us the grace we need to overcome every weakness by his strength alone and our “faith pulse” will grow stronger and stronger, i.e. we will begin to obey these commands more and more consistently until he makes us complete. This is an outward demonstration of living faith.
God bless, Orval