Does Your Faith Ever Get To The Gym?
Do You Ever Use your Faith Membership?
“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.” (James 2:18 NIV11)
Do you work out at a gym? I don’t but good on you if you do! Personally I’m waiting for my bike to be fixed because that’s my regular exercise joy. Of course some people don’t do any exercise at all – and regardless of how it might feel to do nothing in the short term the long term health effects of that choice aren’t pretty.
But there is someone who’s perhaps a little worse even than the self-identified couch potato. That’s the person with the gym membership who never goes.
You might ask them, “What do you do to keep fit?” They reply, “Oh, I’ve got a gym membership.” Well, whilst that’s a true statement of fact it doesn’t have much to do with fitness.
In reading James today we meet the religious equivalent of the gym membership owner who never goes. The person who never exercises their faith by turning it into deeds.
What do we mean?
It’s possible to say that you believe in God and in His provision and yet never do anything with that faith. “God’s probably there, but I never trust Him for my big problems in life I just work harder.” This sort of response. Or, “I’ve got a big decision coming up but I’d prefer to talk to my friends and financial advisor rather than praying to God about it.” These are examples of apparent faith without practice.
In contrast James says the faith that the only faith that is true is a faith that works. Loving God, loving neighbours, and loving the poor around us in practical ways. Putting faith into action is real faith – the other is an imposter with brand new shoes, a shiny drink bottle, and a pristine gym membership card. All intentions and no actions.
Dear Lord, thank you that you are at dependable and trustworthy object of my faith. Please help me to do more than think about you. Help me to place my trust in you in real decisions, with real worries, in real times of hardship. And Lord, when I feel weak – help me to find friends who will drive me to the gym of faith and work out with me!