If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,  and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? (ESV)
For many years I have been a preacher of the Gospel. There is an inherent danger in the job of preaching. It is easy to get so caught up in speaking the truth that one can forget to also back up the words with actions. It is one thing to tell people that God will provide for their lives, but it is another thing to ask God how he wants to use us to accomplish that divine purpose of provision.
James gives us a very graphic picture in these two verses. Imagine a poor, starving child that we essentially ignore while saying some nice words to them. That's not enough. If the child needs food and we say that God will fill them with good food, but do not provide it, we are being hypocrites. True faith is evidenced by action.
I believe that there are many people in our world who have rejected Christianity not because of our beliefs, but because of our actions, or lack of actions. We must believe the truth. I am a strong defender of the importance of knowing sound doctrine. But the evidence that we have believed properly is behaving properly.
Too often the church is a place that is known in the community as a place of in-fighting, gossip, and self-righteous condemnation of everyone who is not part of their "family." Imagine what it would be like if the church in your community was known as a place where the poor and needy are helped, where the teenagers are shown what it means to grow up with purpose, and there is less crime in the streets because of the positive influence of the church. The Gospel, believed and lived can do this.
In what ways have you ignored the need of those around you? In what ways can you put more action in your faith? Do something today that matches your belief with your behavior.
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