A Reflection on James 2:26
Since it is a new year, I have been seeing several of my brothers and sisters in Christ set the goal of reading their Bibles every day. I think that this is a wonderful goal to have, and I, too, want to continue my daily Bible readings this, and every year that I am alive. Those who have expressed their interest in studying the Holy Scriptures daily understand what James was saying in James Chapter 2 and verse 26; “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” This verse means that a person can have faith in God, but that same person has to show obedience to God by keeping His commandments and doing good works during his or her lifetime in order to obtain a home in Heaven. This verse also shows how a Christian who only occupies a pew on Sundays and Wednesday nights, but fails to do any other good works outside of the church building is also not being obedient to God’s Word. Here are some examples of some good works that Christians can consider adding to their “New Year’s Resolutions List” along with daily Bible readings! Please note that this is not a complete list, and you may think of other good works to become involved in besides the ones mentioned here.
1. Set a goal to work to convert at least one person this year: Christians are commanded to work to win souls for God. It is not only the job of the preacher to convert souls to Christ, but every Christian’s duty to do so. Jesus commands his disciples to go into the world and teach everyone the Word of God. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen (Matthew 28:19-20).” We are to be “fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). Being fishers of men means that we are to go out into the world and seek out the lost in order to teach them. If Christians only focus on communicating with other faithful Christians, then they will not be able work to convert the lost unto Christ. Daily Bible study will help Followers of Christ to talk to others about God in the most effective ways. Christians cannot teach others what they do not know themselves. We will not be held accountable for those who we try to convert, but who choose to remain lost. We will only be held accountable by God for not making any attempt to take as many souls with us to Heaven as we can.
2. Participate in church works: It is necessary for a Christian to attend all worship services held by his or her home congregation in order to be considered faithful, but it is also important that Christians also participate in the works of the church outside of the worship services. A Christian man or woman does not have to participate in every work that their home congregation is involved in, especially if the congregation is large and is involved in many works, and also, we all have different talents and abilities. A Christian, however, should participate in some works of the church, and to be sure to perform his or her role joyously. As God said through Paul in I Corinthians 12:17, “If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?” Certainly, Christians ought to participate in every work for which they have opportunities and abilities. Each Christian should also submit to the Elders as they guide them in performing works for God. Such church works can include visiting the sick, shut-in, and those who are incarcerated, taking food and other supplies to those in need, door-knockings in order to invite others to gospel meetings, and worship services, as well as other church works. Being involved in the works of the church allows us to use our talents and to cultivate new ones. Faithful Elders can help greatly in this regard. Matthew 25 speaks of the importance of using our talents for the Lord. God expects us to do all we can to save others, and if we do not use our talents to serve the Lord, then we will lose not only our talents but our eternal souls as the man with the one talent did when he failed to use his ability to serve God. “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:30). If we choose to use our talents to serve God rather than reserve them solely for worldly pursuits, then we will be greatly blessed!
3. Make your home a godly one. Raising children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord as Ephesians 6:4 tells us requires parents to make God a focus each and every day. Children need to see their parents, pray, read the Bible and live faithful Christian lives each and every day both in private and in the public eye. Children whose parents are not faithful Christians in any way, shape, or form have a lower chance of remaining faithful throughout their lives. We, parents, should not be afraid to talk about God to our children every day either through family Bible studies, or if the children are very small, through Bible-related songs and Bible-based books geared toward small children. My husband and I have a devotional with one another every night where we pray, sing spiritual songs, and study from the Holy Scriptures in front of our children. We also teach our children the Bible at home with books designed to teach Bible stories to the very young, as well as teaching them to pray and sing spiritual songs. It is never too early to teach our little ones about God, and having faithful children is a blessing!
4. Always make a point to say to yourself “How much can I do to serve God and go to Heaven,” rather than “How little can I do to serve God and still go to Heaven?” Some Christians have the mindset that they will do as little as possible in order to try to be faithful. These Christians will often be seen at worship services sporadically, or they may attend most worship services of their home congregation, but will not do anything else to serve the Lord any other time of the week. These types of Christians often fail to read their Bibles every day, and they do not become involved in any works in or outside of the church. They are not concerned about the souls of others, and they often look the other way when given the opportunity to teach others the right way to live. These types of people will also sometimes engage in sinful behavior in their public and private lives. On the contrary, those who seek to do as much as they can to serve the Lord will be at every service of their home congregation barring any sickness or caring for the sick, and they will be involved in as many church works and personal works to seek and save the lost as they can. Those who want to do the most that they can to be obedient servants of God will also keep a spiritually-focused home.
We should all strive to make 2018 the year that we work toward spiritual growth as Christians. No matter your age or how long you have been a Christian, everyone has room for growth in their spiritual lives. I know that I want to spend this year and every year that I am here on the earth growing spiritually, and I plan to do as much as I can to achieve this goal, Lord willing! I look to James 2:26 as an inspiration to work toward growing spiritually to the point that others can see more of Christ in my behavior and actions than they see of me. I hope you all will strive to do the same!
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