James was maybe the first to emphasize it. In his short but inspired letter he was all about demonstrating faith by action. Talk was not enough. “Do not merely listen to the word,” he stated, “Do what it says.” (1:22)
That seems simple enough. But just in case we missed it the first time, he says it once more. Listen to him again: “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (2:17)
If you are a Christian, prove it, but not just by mere words, but by spiritual service spurred on by faith. This is James’ message. This is God’s truth. This is the “doing” factor that makes all the difference in a living, engaging church and one that is ineffective and dying.
But the facts remain- in a typical church the majority of the work is done by a minority of the people. The conversion rate from the padded pew to servant sweat is low. The current consumer church culture has produced an abundance of church talking but not enough faith walking.
From God’s standpoint things are wide open. He has already given us permission to be a doer. Needs are everywhere. Ministries constantly need assistance, creativity and leadership. Churches always have good works undone for lack of volunteers.
It is all about the “doing” factor. Growing churches have a high “doing” factor while stagnate churches struggle for servants. Dying churches suffer from faith inactive while expanding churches soar by faith-in-action.
Which are we? Honestly? Ultimately that question will be answered individually. Do I demonstrate my faith through my actions? I am actively involved beyond Sunday? Is doing God’s will a daily priority in my life? Am I just a listener? What am I doing to really help the church grow?
These are healthy questions to ask. These and other similar questions if answered honestly will indicate our personal “doing” factor. It is the kind of spiritual self-evaluation of which James would approve.
He really wanted us to get the point. “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” (2:26)
If our faith is living then we will have no problem with the “doing” factor. We will not hesitate to volunteer. We will find a place to plug-in. We will demonstrate who Jesus is in our lives daily. We will be a blessing to others through unselfish service. We will do what the word says.
That is what James is talking about!