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Prove It!
Good deeds are the proof of strong faith. If someone has really given their life to Jesus, their life will prove it.

Have you ever listened to two kids arguing about something? It could be about anything, but let’s say their argument sounds something like this:

One boy says, “I’m the fastest runner on the playground!” To which the other boy, rising up to his full height replies, “Are NOT!” At which point the first boy says, “Am too!” And then it begins… “Are not!” “Am too!” “Are not!” “Am too!”

Now this little debate goes around in circles until the second boy finally says the only two words that can put an end to this vicious cycle. With a satisfied smirk on his face, he simply leans back, crosses his arms, and utters the dreaded, “Prove it!”

With that, this little argument moves beyond mere talk to concrete action. It’s where the rubber meets the road. Where actions truly speak louder than words. Prove it!

Actually, that’s a concept about which the Bible has a lot to say. In fact, if you read the book of James, you’ll find that’s basically its underlying message throughout. 

If you’ve given your life to Jesus, the author James explains, you must do just that –prove it! Over the centuries, theologians have frequently debated over which James places a higher value: faith in God or doing good works.I mean, surely James isn’t saying that a person can actually work his way into heaven – score enough brownie points and the deal is sealed. Of course not. I believe what James is teaching is that the two should be inseparable. Good deeds should be the evidence of strong faith.

To only do good, without faith in God through Jesus, is like putting the proverbial cart before the horse. The truth is that the cart of good worksis going nowhere without the life of God’s Spirit to lead it. But as James implies, make no mistake, if a person claims to have God’s Spirit leading him, there should be a cart full of proof to follow. And one such proof takes our actions one step further. It lies in the way we, as believers in Jesus, react to the world around us. Reading from the first chapter of James in The Message Bible, just listen to verse 27.

“Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.”

According to this verse, it’s obvious that God-fuelled actions are a direct result of God-focussed reactions to those needs around us… reactions that should come as easily to us as breathing. Put simply, reaching, loving and guarding shouldn’t be our last resort. They should be our first response. And while this advice usually gets an “Amen” on Sunday, the “hot air” test (as James warned) comes in how we react on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and... you get the picture. As followers of Jesus, it’s not good enough to simply do the talking. We must also do a great deal of walking.

Yes, it’s a tall order, this faith journey. But be assured, the stage is set. The playground is full. The world has heard our claims of love in action and they’re waiting. Now it’s up to us to step out of the crowd and prove it!

Originally published in Crossroads Compass, November 2008.




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