19th Ave New York, NY 95822, USA

‘The Pursuit’ Blog

Faith in Action

“So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.” – James 2:17, NLT

So, how’s your March Madness bracket doing? 

If you’re anything like me, you probably gave up on having a winning bracket pretty early on. In fact, it’s so early I don’t even participate.

Out of the 22 million brackets filled out on major platforms like ESPN and CBS Sports, none were still perfect after the initial weekend of the tournament. Perhaps that’s why we love March Madness so much. We watch the games in anticipation of an unexpected outcome, and we know that anything can happen in a single game. To put it simply, we have an affinity for the underdog.

Although it’s fictional, one of my favorite underdog stories comes from the 2006 movie “Facing the Giants,” a Christian drama starring Alex Kendrick. The production company, Sherwood Films, was also responsible for movies such as “Fireproof” and “Courageous” in the late 2000s and early 2010s. 

At one point in “Facing the Giants,” a man from the community tells head football coach Grant Taylor a story about two farmers who prayed for rain. Although both farmers prayed for rain, only one prepared his fields to receive it. The man asked Coach Taylor, “Which one do you think trusted God to send the rain?”

I think of this story as I think of the passage we’ll be focusing on for the next several weeks. You read this passage at the beginning of this post, but let’s look at it again in context:

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.” (James 2:14-17, NLT)

Obviously, we should clarify that James isn’t saying that faith is insufficient to save us. Rather, faith is the only thing that can save us, because it’s through our faith that we appeal to God’s power and mercy to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. 

James isn’t diminishing the importance of faith. Instead, he’s arguing that true, meaningful faith is expressed in our actions. If we really trust in God, we will live our lives in accordance with this belief. We won’t just ask God to work, but we will live in such a way that shows an expectation that God will fulfill his promises. 

Over the next several weeks as we make our way through this series, I encourage you to think about what it would look like for you to put your faith in action. You should certainly acknowledge and celebrate the ways you are already living this way and how God is working through your actions, but you should also think critically about additional opportunities to step out in faith and create space for God to work. Ask yourself, what could become possible if you were committed to putting your faith in action on a more consistent basis?