Move That Mountain

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? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless? (James 2:14-20)

Faith without actions is not really faith at all, is it? In fact, faith is revealed in action. Jesus never said, "See that mountain - look at it until it crumbles." He said, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen." (Matthew 21:21) Doubt looks at the mountain and does nothing - faith sees the mountain and sets everything in motion to see it actually moved. That doesn't mean we move the mountain - it means we do what God asks and then see him move on our behalf. Think about the Israelites marching time and time again around the walls of Jericho - God asked them to march, then on the seventh day to praise him with all they had. If they had of just sat there and 'trusted God' to remove the walls, do you think the walls would have crumbled? No, because he asked them to take specific actions and they did! God created us as both physical and spiritual beings - meaning we use all that he created to do as he says. 

God asks for passion, but he also asks for persistence. We persist in prayer, but we also persist in taking the actions he directs until he tells us to no longer take those actions. Lots of us have passion - we get all excited to see something accomplished, but how many of us have the persistence to act time and time again until God is finished accomplishing what needs to be done? We don't act in our own power - we act in his. We are obedient to the things he asks us to do, and we keep on taking those actions, until he tells us to stop. Ever see someone so intent on taking 'good actions', but lacking the relationship with Jesus that should go along with those good actions? Those actions may be all well and good, but they are a little hollow or empty, aren't they? We might think of these actions as 'philanthropic' or 'benevolent'. They are indeed 'good', but there is something missing - faith in Christ. When good deeds are an outflow of this relationship with Jesus, they are never 'hollow' - they are filled with love and grace.

God never focuses on the actions over the heart. He knows the heart innervates the actions, so he focuses on our heart first. When our heart is right with him, our actions are 'faith actions' - they are rich, meaningful, and with specific purpose. God asks us to be mountain movers, but we don't move mountains on our own. If you and I go through life just focusing on doing the 'right things' but neglect the 'right relationship' component of faith, our faith is not really faith - it is religion. Just sayin!

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