"But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?" ~James 2:20
I used to think this was talking about those people who believe you can go to Heaven without keeping the commandments - that the commandments were done away with at the cross. And it is... But there's a deeper meaning, a more personal meaning, which just dawned on me this morning as I added this verse to my memory bank.
When I pray for various things, I generally believe (at least intellectually) that God will answer my prayers. But this verse made me think, Do I demonstrate that faith by my works, or do I have a "dead faith"? Do I do my best to help God answer my prayers, or do I sit back and do nothing? Do I move forward, making choices which reflect my faith that God will answer my prayers? I had to ruefully admit that my faith was nothing more than a corpse in the closet of my heart.
But I thank God that He is a God who can make dry bones live! (See Ezekiel 37.)
So my next question was, "What can I do to show God (and myself) that I believe His promise to answer my prayers?" One of my prayers lately has been that I will find a Thai friend to help me get around town, and to help me learn Thai. However, I'm a little ashamed to say that I haven't really done much to "help God out" in that realm. Perhaps an appropriate response on my part would be to make more effort to associate with people in my community, and make myself available. It's inconvenient sometimes, it's not always what I feel like doing, and it's embarrassing when people try to talk to me and I have no clue what they're saying. But do I really want God to answer my prayer? If so, I need to act accordingly. After all, isn't that what I came here for - to reach out to people and show them Jesus' love? Jesus wasn't a hermit; I can't be one either.
That's just one example of faith that needs to be acted out in my life. There are many more. Perhaps there are corpses in your closet, too. Let's work together to "prophesy" to those "dead bones", that Christ might breathe His life into us and give us a living, active faith.