The book of James challenges us to practice our faith in real-life settings. It encourages God’s people to act like God’s people. James asks us to be not hypocritical but truly live out our faith. Our faith is no longer an abstract proposition but something we live out. Faith assures us in the midst of trials, allows us to call on God for wisdom, bridles the tongue, sets aside wickedness, visits orphans and widows, and does not play favorites. James stresses that a life of faith is comprehensive: it impacts every area of our lives and drives us to truly engage in the lives of other people in the world. While James recognizes that even believers stumble, he also points out that true faith does not coexist within people who roll their eyes at the less fortunate, ignore the plight of others, or curse those in their paths.
More than any other book in the New Testament, the book of James emphasizes the necessity of believers behaving in accordance with faith. How well do your actions mirror the faith that you proclaim? This is a question that we all struggle to answer well. Although we would like to point to all the ways our faith and works overlap, we are forced to recognize the gaps and crevices between the two in our lives. As we begin our sermon series on James, focus on the areas that James mentions: your actions during trials, your treatment of those less fortunate, the way you speak and relate to others, and the role that money plays in how you live your life. Allow James to encourage you to do good, according to the faith you proclaim and believe in.