“For as the body without the spirit is dead,
so faith without works is dead also.”
– James 2:26 NKJV
Dead bodies have some pretty distinct characteristics. They don’t move, or breathe, or talk, and they certainly don’t react to any external stimulation. If a dead body is spat on, kicked, dragged around, or insulted, it doesn’t get angry, fight, run, or cry. Even if we cooked that dead body a meal, it wouldn’t eat. If we gave it an expensive gift, it wouldn’t get very excited!
Let’s consider James 2:26 in the light of this example. James tells us that faith absent of corresponding actions is dead. We can determine our true level of faith by examining our actions. If there are no actions which correspond to our faith, that faith is dead. It has no life in it, so it cannot fully receive the promises of God! Therefore, one characteristic of mature faith is a willingness to act on what is believed to be true.
This means that life is planned around the promises—the results and conditions we are believing for. Faith will do this, even when those results have not yet been experienced in the natural. This is what walking by faith, and not by sight, is all about.
Prepare for What You Believe
While attending Bible college, Ashley was buying and selling cars. However, all of the money was tied up in the vehicles that hadn’t yet sold. There wasn’t even any cash to buy groceries! The cars weren’t selling, and Carlie had gotten to the point where she was starting to grumble and complain. She asked the Lord what was going on, and God told her, “You’ve forgotten that you are blessed.” That was a wake-up call! Carlie changed her attitude, and rather than complaining about the lack, she thanked God for what they had. Then she laid hands on the cars and spoke blessings over each one.
Since Carlie was full of living faith, she took action beyond just prayer. She went back inside and began to clean the kitchen. She knew she needed to clear out any clutter and make room for the food that she believed was coming! Her faith said, “Those cars are selling, and that money is coming in, so we had better make room for our increase!” Within about three days, all the cars had sold!
Faith Takes Action
Now, let’s be careful not to get this backward: faith produces action; action does not produce faith! We don’t do (act) in order to somehow cause ourselves to “believe more,” or strengthen our faith. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17), not by striving. On the other hand, if God told us that there was a million dollars buried on our property, what would we do? If we truly believed Him, we’d start digging right away, right? The faith that there is buried treasure is what produces the corresponding action to dig.
In the middle of preparing to move to the USA from England, Carlie had another opportunity to act in faith. In a valiant—albeit vain—attempt to rescue a baby rabbit, Carlie had chased her cat across a field. Her foot became lodged in a muddy rut under the grass, and a loud crack came from her ankle. Although she was tempted to imagine herself hobbling through the airport on crutches, dragging three small children and 18 pieces of luggage along, she decided that she didn’t have time for a broken ankle!
Carlie decided that she believed she had an option other than laying in the grass screaming for help or crawling the half-mile back home. She believed she was healed! With a cry of, “Jesus!” Carlie leapt to her feet and ran all the way home. Of course, the first steps were painful, but by the time she reached the house, her ankle was healed!
Dead Faith vs. Living Faith
Here’s the difference between dead faith and living faith. Dead faith would have said, “Sure, the Bible says that by the stripes of Jesus I was healed, but that doesn’t cover this! My ankle is broken; I can’t walk on it! I’m just going to wait for help to come.” Living, effective faith said, “No way, I don’t have time for this! Jesus died for my healing, so I believe I’m healed! I’m gonna get up and show my body who is really in charge!”
Now, if you’ve been believing for increase or healing, but haven’t yet taken action, don’t feel condemned. The next step is to begin to hear the Word and meditate on the promises of God. Build up your faith, and as the Holy Spirit gives you direction regarding corresponding actions in your specific situation, according to His power at work within you, you will take them. Your faith takes action!
Faith is potent stuff. Faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain, and you have more than enough of it. The question is, are you using what you have? Everyday Faith is a power-packed teaching series that will help you discover what faith actually is and how you can use it in your life–every day