Few areas in our lives test the depth of our self control more than our ability to control our tongue. Think back over your life to all of the moments when anger flared and without thinking you strike–it could be to a fellow employee, a friend, an mere acquaintance, a parent, your child, or your spouse. It doesn’t matter; the tongue is indiscriminate. It strikes with a vengeance and can leave an everlasting wound that may never heal.
We often hear folks pray, “Lord, grow our faith.” How does God do this? How does He grow our faith. James tells us up front: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4). Intellectually, we acknowledge that the way God grows our faith is through testing, or trials, but we’re never ready for the trials when they hit, are we?
This week we look at what many commentators consider to be the main thrust of the Epistle to James–faith without works is dead. Many confuse what James is teaching in this text. Is he arguing for a works-based salvation? No. Is is arguing that works are the evidence of true salvation, not the source of true salvation? Yes.
This is a topic that the American Church needs to pay attention to and heed. Too many Christians today are what I call “cultural Christians,” in other words, they rely on a faulty faith or an intellectual belief in God as the evidence of their salvation. James is quite clear–this kind of faith is worthless.