Someone might claim, “You have faith and I have action.” But how can I see your faith apart from your actions? Instead, I’ll show you my faith by putting it into practice in faithful action. – James 2:18
“Don’t wait to first have enough faith, act on the faith that we have and – in response to good works – our faith is strengthened.”
#1 – Another “ah-ha” moment with the Book of James:
Wednesday evening my mid-week Bible study was (once again) challenging, encouraging, and loaded with great conversation. The ah-ha moment for me was really an extension of last week’s insight (Faith = belief + action), still very much focused on the relationship between faith and “good works.”
What hit me as fresh understanding was simple, and will probably strike most of you more as a “duh” moment than an “ah-ha” epiphany. But as I’ve said before I am a constant work in progress and I always need a good nudge from the Holy Spirit.
We were talking about the problem of using faith as an excuse not to act personally, and also the related prosperity gospel idea that offers the following equation: “If you have enough faith” and “if you declare a word of faith,” then such-and-such will happen (a healing, a blessing, improved finances, a divine intervention, a challenge, a resolved circumstance…).
But the Book of James is clear, and it turns the Prosperity equation on its head. If you believe then act, do something practical to help others, put your belief into motion – then (as a consequence of your actions) your faith will strengthen and grow. More specifically, do good deeds, feed the hungry, share the gospel of love-in-action, actually “do” the gospel. We don’t wait to first have enough faith, we act on the faith that we have and – in response to our works – our faith is strengthened.
AH-HA: My “ah-ha” moment was realizing it is not that more and better faith will activate miracles (hungry people no longer hungry and sick people no longer sick) as that belief put into action creates faith, and that faith expressed in faithful acts (we feed the hungry, we make sure medical care is affordable, we buy mosquito nets for Africa…) strengthens our faith and the world is changed via Love in Action, Jesus living in and through us.
- My belief expressed in action builds both my faith and the faith of those I help.
#2 – Photo-Shoot:
So my publisher, Upper Room Books, asked for a new “author photo” to go with the Derek Maul bio on their author page. Evidently, somebody noticed that I am over sixty now and the marketing people need a “more contemporary” image.
I was playing around with lighting and set-up before getting more dressy for the shoot when I decided “who needs dressy?” and just sent in what I had. I may throw in a couple of the other contenders – but I think this is the one.
Now I’m going to have to write another book to justify the up-to-date info!
Have an amazing, faith-filled, love-in-action day – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.