What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? (James 2:14 NLT)
Just about every week I ask myself what my actions are revealing about my relationship with Jesus. Why do I ask this of myself? I guess it is because I know there is a root of selfishness in me that sometimes allows little compromises and unholy actions to slip into my life. I don't want these little things to become bigger things, so I spend some time just evaluating those actions in light of what scripture tells me about how it is I am 'supposed' to be acting. It isn't a bad thing for each of us to do on occasion - evaluating our actions to see what they reveal about our relationship with Jesus. We might just find our relationship needs a little 'tune up', so to speak.
In the second chapter of James, the topic of showing preference to some individuals over others has been presented. Why? There is a human tendency to give some better placement in life based upon what they have, can do, or who they are. This means we give a lesser placement to others by the actions of elevating one over another. As a reminder of the limitlessness of God's grace, James wants us to recall salvation isn't a thing for the more 'fortunate' in life, but for the masses - evil, good, well, sick - it matters not what their condition is in this life - Jesus reached out for all of these. In this mix, we find ourselves - not sure where we fit on the scale, but in terms of God's grace, we are ALL equal. No one gets a greater degree or measure of his grace - grace is an equalizing force in ALL of our lives.
If our actions reveal we are not always allowing a view of others as 'equalized' through the grace of God, then we have a potential of being a little 'prejudiced' toward some and discount the worth of others. To this end, James wants us to remember there is no place for such prejudice in the house of God. A believer's heart should NEVER give any more preference to one over another - because grace draws us equally to the throne of grace and equally distributes the grace that perfectly makes us 'equal' in all respects.
Another way to look at our actions is in light of how Christ 'acted' toward others while he was on this earth. Herein is a view of what it is like to live out our daily walk. He was faced with all kinds of 'issues' and difficult people. In each occurrence, he found a means to reach beyond the surface of what others revealed or 'put forward' in order to meet the deeper need of their soul. I think we do well to consider how well we reach the 'soul need' of others around us. Are we just superficial in our relationships, or do we find ways to get at the 'soul need' that is buried a little deeper below the surface in these relationships?
We may not always find we have great revelations of things we could do differently each time we do these evaluations, but trust me on this one - do it often enough and you will find there is ALWAYS something of God's grace we could embrace a little more! Just sayin!
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