Thursday, April 28, 2016

James 2:14 -- On Faith and Tests

"What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?"
James 2:14

There comes a time in all of our lives when our faith will be tested.  Not just about one thing, but about each and every thing that matters to us.  Faith is good, and having it can work miracles, but it is built and backed up by our actions.  We can read about Christ asking us to love our enemies, but we don't really understand that concept fully or have a powerful faith in it until we actually work to put it into practice.

And so it is with every principle.  The gospel can lead us in the right direction while it is theoretical, but it can't save us until we actually live it.  And so, we get to those moments in our lives, and we have to decide... okay, do I really believe this?   Maybe it is paying tithing, and it doesn't get tested until money is tight and it's either pay tithing or pay a bill.  Or it's chastity and it doesn't get tested until we are in a situation where we really want to give in to temptation.  Or it's kindness and generosity, and it doesn't get tested until we're faced with someone rude and demanding.

Faith can help prepare us for those tests.  We can think ahead and decide what we're going to do, and have a plan, hopefully to stay as far away from temptation as possible.  When the situations come up though, what we *do* determines who we are.

Failing once can make it easier to fail again.  Which brings up another principle of faith: Repentance.  We don't have to be the person who keeps failing.  God tells us that we can change, and we can have faith in that as well, but again... we have to *do* something about it.  We have to change our behavior.  Sometimes that means asking God to help change our hearts, so that we don't desire to do evil any more.  Believing repentance is possible is mega important, but we also have to really give up the bad things, not only believe in it. :)

Today, let's remember that our faith in God can only save us if we follow through on it and pair it with works.  Let's prepare for those tests of faith, and keep working on becoming better people, even when we mess up.  Let's have faith, and hope, and love, and put them all into action.

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