“For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.” -James 2:26
Can you figure out these riddles?
1. What am I? I am not alive, but I grow; I don't have lungs, but I need air; I don't have a mouth, but water kills me. What am I?
2. Lighter than a feather, yet no one can hold it for long?
*Keep reading for the answer!
James 2 reads like the answer to a riddle by asking some tough questions. What is faith? Does a body exist without a soul? What good is faith if you do nothing when you see someone in need? In the Book of James, there is no faith without action. Vice versa, there is no meaningful action without faith backing it. We need both.
James was speaking into a community of professed believers. They had already welcomed Christ into their lives, yet they were maintaining a “Sunday” faith. Their belief had not changed how they were living the other 6 days of the week. Earlier in chapter 2 of James, James warns against snobbery and favoritism towards the rich. This community said they believed, but they were not known for their love (John 13:35).
James still challenges us today to move past just knowledge, or simple belief, to putting our faith in action. If we truly believe in God, then what does that look like? Does our faith impact how we raise our kids, or how we do business at work? Does it impact how we shop for groceries, or how we spend our money in general? Are we more kind and loving because of our faith?
In answer to the riddles above, a “candle” grows, but is not alive. “Air” is lighter than a feather, yet no one can hold it for long. What is faith? Faith brings new life, filling us with strength like the air that fills our lungs. Like a candle, if we hide that light of Christ which burns within us, the flame goes out.
This upcoming Sunday, January 26th, we will be asking for everyone to consider setting goals for time and giving towards missions. This is above and beyond regular giving to Carmel UMC. We hope everyone will consider how their faith is being put in action, by giving additional time or resources to help our many mission partners locally and internationally!
Be strong and courageous, people of God. May we all breathe deep the presence of the Holy Spirit, as we fan the flames of Faith throughout the week ahead!
Pastor Adriane Curtis