17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.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. – James 2:17-19
If you are like me, this passage tends to convict and challenge you. Far too often, I say the right things and proclaim my faith in God, but my actions tell a different story. Looking back, this was especially true in my athletic career. I would attend Sunday and Wednesday night worship, but when it came to the locker room or the field, I was a different person. I even signed up for an athlete devotional, but would rarely implement the words into my life and game.
Now, my intention is not to guilt you into anything but to call you, and myself, to take this passage seriously. Our scripture literally says, “Faith without works is dead.” Some of you may be thinking that your schedule full of classes, practices, and games doesn’t allow enough time to do good deeds. I would challenge you that those settings are the perfect places to put your faith into action. Besides maybe the workplace, there will never be another time where you are surrounded by countless people that have no understanding, no hope, and no faith of the love and grace of Jesus.
You may be tempted to define “good deeds” as strictly professing Jesus as Savior over a microphone or pointing up to the sky after getting a bucket or home run. However, I would call you to open your eyes to the people and needs all around you. We reveal our faith in a loving and gracious Savior when we extend that same love and grace to our teammates, coaches, and opponents. This may look like standing up for a teammate who’s getting bullied or reaching out to a younger player in the program and encouraging his/her hard work. If there is anything we see in the life and ministry of Jesus, it is that we serve and love God by serving and loving the people around us, especially those in pain or oppression. To what needs in your locker room is God calling you to respond?
- Reflect on the passage above and how Jesus revealed his love for us through His deeds.
- Ask God to reveal the needs of those around you.
- Ask God to help you love and serve the people around you.