Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Faith and Works - Part 2

Excellent!  Let's move along to another discussion on faith and works.  Pull out your Bible again and read James 1:19-27.  Or, you can read it here.

Pretty stern stuff, huh?  Look at verse 22: "But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves."  Essentially, James is telling us that we need to walk the talk.  Remember, Christianity is not an intellectual endeavor or an academic pursuit.  Christianity is a lifestyle, and a radical one at that.

Now it is very easy to convince ourselves that what we are doing is right.  To counter this, James is holding up a mirror to our Christian discipleship.  Are we doers or hearers?  This is a severe and potentially disturbing question for self-reflection.  But then again, if we never ask ourselves the hard questions, we will never grow.

This is beautiful, but is it true religion?
Now take a look at verse 27.  The word "religion" here means "ceremonial observance" or "ritual worship."  In other words, true worship of God is taking care of the unprotected and forgotten.  Please note: "orphans and widows" are examples of who we should take care (that is, the poor and the lonely), not just technically orphans and widows.

This a stream of thought running throughout the Old Testament.  In Psalm 50 God asks, "Do I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?"  Also, check out Micah 6:6-8.  Click here to read it.  Time and again, we, as the people of God, are called to put our faith into action.  Faith is not enacted in churches or at worship services.  Faith comes alive when you assist the needy, remember the forgotten, and give to the poor.

Question for reflection: Where do you see opportunities to care for the widows and orphans?

No comments:

Post a Comment