You may have authentic faith if… you carry out works of faith and compassion (James 2:14–17), control our tongues (3:1–12), and speak wisdom (3:13).
Welcome to Day Seven of our series of “You may have authentic faith if …” Today, I will talk about the works of faith and compassion, being in control of our tongues, and speaking wisdom.
Walk the Talk
Carrying out the works of faith and compassion is the expression of true faith. If you claim to have faith, but you produce no deeds or works, then you are making a false claim. People who substitute words for works have faith that is dead.
These are the ones that know exactly what words to say for prayers and their testimony. They also can quote the right verses in the Bible to convince anyone of their faith. The issue that arises is they can “talk the talk,” but cannot “walk the talk.”
Let me give you an example of someone talking about a good game, but not walking or living up to their game. I have been bowling since I was six years old and bowled professionally on and off for about 10 years. One day, I was in a practice session with my coach and a person walked into our session and started to talk about how good they are and issued a challenge.
Needless to say, I accepted, but they started to back up and did not have their equipment with them. I found out what league they bowled and paid a visit to. After observing his bowling skills, he could not be the caliber of a bowler to compete at a high level as he claimed. Just like those individuals that convince people of their faith or words only. Their think words are good as works, but they are wrong. Authentic faith starts practicing what we preach.
Meet the Needs
In verses 16-17, Paul uses the example of someone who is lacking in true faith is like lacking in the basics of life like food and clothing. The person with dead faith will notice the visitor that is in need but will not do anything to meet their needs.
They will say a few words like, “be warm and filled” without giving them anything so nothing was done. It breaks my heart when they say, “we are praying for you,” and I know that person would not go as far as to lift a finger for the one who is in need.
It is similar to 1 John 3:17-18, “If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show that truth by our actions.” Faith needs action or it is dead and means nothing. Faith that saves, is the faith that proves itself in the actions it produces.
Watch What You Say!
I will not go too much into controlling our tongues as I wrote a blog that fully covers this passage of Scripture called, “Be In Control of Your Words.” CLICK HERE to read. The tongue is the world’s smallest but largest troublemaker. How many times have we caused trouble with what we say?
God gave us the great power of speech. With our tongues, we can speak great things as praise God, pray, preach God’s Word, and lead someone to Jesus. On the other hand, we can speak words to ruin a person’s reputation, or break a person’s heart. We can influence others and tear them down with just a flick of the tongue.
The one who said, “sticks and stones may break our bones, but words would never hurt me,” do not believe them for a second! Our words have the power to guide, cause damage, and create. To show our authentic faith, our words must be uplifting, edifying, or teaching in love, and fruitful.
Speaking Wisdom from Your Tongue
We end this section by seeking true wisdom that comes from God and not the world. A good place to start learning about wisdom is the book of Proverbs. They are short statements of wisdom. Never confuse wisdom with knowledge. Knowledge is the correct understanding, wisdom is the skill of applying the knowledge gained, and both are given by God.
Proverbs 3:21-23, “My son, do not lose sight of these—keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck. Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble.” Walk securely and establish yourself in wisdom.
James is challenging us that if we understand God’s ways then prove it by living an honorable and respectful life. When doing good works, do it with humility. Wisdom is not measured by degrees that are hung on the wall, but by deeds.
To show your authentic faith to others, your faith is not wordy, but of works that give glory to God. Remember, actions speak louder than words. Be authentic, not fake, Amen!
I am Dale Van De Bogart and I approve of this message!
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