Living Faith, Dead Faith

This photograph shows two pink grapefruits (Ci...

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Last week, in James chapter 1 we discovered three things that define a religion {faith walk} that is acceptable to God.

  1. keeping a tight rein on our tongue {James 1:26}
  2. caring for widows and orphans {the needy} in their distress {James 1:27a}
  3. keeping ourselves from being polluted by the world  {James 1:27b}

Now for chapter 2.

If I lived in Florida I would grow a grapefruit tree in my backyard.  I love grapefruit.  I would tend to the tree {however one tends to a grapefruit tree} and as a result I would expect the grapefruit tree to product luscious grapefruits that I could eat for breakfast and juice for whenever.

Because grapefruit trees are designed to bear grapefruit.

Likewise, I am a tree planted by the Living Water, expected to produce fruit in due season {Psalm 1:3}

The litmus test of my relationship with Christ is whether or not my life is producing fruit. {John 13:34-35}

If people observe my actions and listen to my words are they pointed to Christ?

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?  Can such faith save him?…In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. ~James 2:14a, 17

James is not preaching a saved by works gospel here.  Quite the contrary.  He spends time in this chapter {James 2:12-13} reminding us that God is merciful and that mercy truimphs over judgement.

What this passage shows us is that religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is not church attendance, dropping money in the offering plate and having a Jesus loves you bumper sticker on the back of your car.

None of that requires faith, none of that spurs you on to live out the desires of the One that resides in your heart.

If we are truly believers than our lives will be a billboard for Jesus.  We will love deeply. We will give generously.  We will not be able to do anything else.

We are all guilty sinners, saved by the mercy and grace of Jesus.  If you accept that gift and live it and walk in it, then you will bear fruit.  Your life will look different than it did before.  Friends and family may not even “get it”.  But, you won’t be able to live any other way if your faith is alive.  Once you allow Jesus access to your heart, He tends the tree and the tree bears fruit.

Father God, I want to bear fruit.  I want Your Living Water to flow from my actions, my words, my thoughts, my deeds.  I am guilty of not bearing fruit because I allow the Spirit to be snuffed out in my life by my desires, my preferences and my selfishness. Pierce my heart, whisper in my ear when I am growing bad fruit.  Let the fruit that comes from my life be clearly that of a woman sold out to her Jesus.  In your sweet name, Amen.

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. i don’t always bear Jesus fruit, but am praying that becomes my default!  I’m also thankful that He hasn’t given up on me yet 🙂  Praise Him for pruning and all the care He takes with us!

    • Oh, honey! None of us bear that fruit all the time…it is just something we can aspire to through His strength and not ours! Goodness knows, I mess up ALL the time 🙂

    • Michelle,My wrestling latley has been more with church than with God! Long story. My husband, on the other hand, just told me the other day, “God is jerking me around.” Though it troubled me, his words also filled me with wonder because just three years ago he was an unbeliever. soo…I guess wrestling is good in my eyes. :)BTW…your boys are gorgeous. I have a not-so-little redhead (he just turned 13) myself and have quite a weakness for them. Blessings!

  2. Amen, amen, amen, Melissa!! Thanks so much for this easy-to-follow analogy! Love it!

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