Tuesday: Praying is Not Enough
PRAY: Ask God to speak to you from His Word.
READ: James 2:15-17
15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
UNDERSTAND: get a deeper understanding of the key words
Without clothes and daily food: James is referring to the daily needs of a person. It’s easy for those of us who have what we need to forget that there are so many living without the basic needs of life. That’s why followers of Christ need to be on the lookout for those we can help.
Go in peace; keep warm and well fed: A modern day version of this phrase would be, “I’m praying for you.” While it’s great to encourage and pray for those in need, it means nothing if we are not also willing to help. Words without actions can actually be harmful and offensive to those who need physical help.
Physical needs: James is talking about daily needs like food and shelter. In our blessed American culture, we take our basic physical needs for granted. We rarely have to worry about having our needs met. As a result, we can miss the needs that are around us every day.
Faith by itself...is dead: The Greek word for death is nekros. In this context James uses this word to describe being destitute of power, inactive, and ineffective. Faith without action is pointless. If our faith doesn’t move us to act then it has no power and is therefore worthless.
APPLY: What is this passage calling me to do?
What are some modern forms of “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed”?
What needs are around you that you are avoiding or ignoring?
What can you do today to start helping those in need?
PRAY: Ask God to help you identify and serve those who are in need.