"Like a body without the spirit is dead, so is faith without works dead."
- James 2.26
We had a spine-tingling, goose-pimple inducing word at church yesterday about REVIVAL. I've been reading James in the New Testament and wanted to do a quick recap on what I read last week. Reading it this morning I was struck by how much it corresponds with what we heard about revival yesterday.
The man speaking spoke about barriers to revival and qualities needed in order to make room for revival. Here are the two lists:
Barriers to revival:
Fear of rejection
Qualities needed to make room for revival:
Purity in all parts of our faith
Rereading James 1.22 I was particularly reminded on what he said about Apathy. James says here that we need to be 'doers' of the word not just 'hearers'. Often times I myself have been a person who turns up to church, sits, hears and observes but does nothing.
In order for revival to take place we actually need to DO SOMETHING.
It's all well and good having faith but faith should produce action. James 2.22 talks about Abraham's faith... and says it 'samverkade' (the Swedish word is SO much richer in meaning, it literally means 'same worked', in the NKJV it says 'worked together' which sounds a lot less exciting) with his 'works' (actions).
Faith and works go hand in hand. Without faith, works are empty, they are like trying to score righteousness points with God through doing 'good stuff' which God says clearly is not enough. Faith without works isn't real faith at all, real faith forces you to make decisions and choices; in short, ACTIONS.
James 2.26 talks about how a body without the spirit is dead and faith without works is the exact same thing; dead.
The reason this struck me even more poignantly today is because, if we are think about what the bible says about us the church... we are Christ's body (1 Corinthians 12.27, Romans 12.5, Ephesians 4.12). We are His hands and feet, here to show the world Him and His love through our lives.
Now if as His body, we try to operate without Him at the centre, i.e., without the spirit of life, we are lifeless, the impact we have on the world is minimal at best.
BUT. But if we the church, as His body, both together AND as individuals, have a real, faith and belief in Jesus, it will spur us into action. Pride and fear of rejection will fall away as we realise it is all about Him and not us. The restricting chains of rationalism will disappear as we allow God whose ways are higher than our own to do things in His perfect way, even if we don't get it, and apathy will vanish as we become helplessly devoted to sharing the love of Christ with the world. Purity, prayer and praise will become the default mechanisms of those who not only hear the word but do it too, and thus...revival, starting in the church and overflowing out, will come.