From James 2:12-26. Real Faith. The second truth about real faith. #2. REAL FAITH IS NOT JUST SOMETHING YOU FEEL
It’s more than emotions. A lot of people confuse emotions and sentiment with faith. You can be emotionally moved and never act on it. You can go to church and get a quiver in your liver, goose bumps, but it never makes any difference in how you live.
James gives an illustration in v. 15 “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him `Go, I wish you well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?” I saw a Peanuts cartoon a long time ago. Charlie Brown and Linus are inside all bundled up and Snoopy’s out in the cold shivering in front of an empty dog food bowl. Charlie and Linus are having a discussion on how sad it is that Snoopy is hungry and cold. “He’s cold and hungry. We ought to do something about it.” They walk outside and say to Snoopy, “Be of good cheer, Snoopy.” Do you know where Charles Schultz got that idea? From this verse.
What good is it if you see someone in need and you say, “I feel for you!” He’s saying, “It’s more than just words. It’s more than just feelings.” If, after church, you’re getting into you car and you happen to slam eight fingers in your car door, and you’re standing there in agony with blood on your fingers, and I walk up and say, “I really feel for you!” — is that any help?
Real faith is more than just sympathy and feeling and emotion. You give assistance. You move. You act. You do something when you see someone in need. Real faith takes the initiative. A real believer has real faith and it’s real practical. When you become a part of God’s family you have some family responsibilities. A real believer will care about other believers.
1 John 3:17 says, “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” Real faith is generous. It wants to give. Who can count on you in a crisis? How many Christians have the freedom to call you up in the middle of the night if they are in an emergency? Not just talking the talk. Not just feeling for people. I John 3:14 says that one of the proofs of salvation is that we love other Christians. Do you have fellowship with believers? Real faith wants to be around other believers. You love them. It is known we are Christians by our love.
Here’s the unvarnished truth – we are a lot better at verbalizing our faith than practicing our faith – and that should not be. I can’t meet everybody’s needs but I can meet somebody’s. We have a saying at COV that goes like this – “See a need – meet a need”.
James is saying that if my faith doesn’t lead me to share with others, and serve others and care for others, I’ve got a useless faith. A dead faith. v. 17 “In the same way, faith by itself if it’s not accompanied by actions is dead.” If I don’t feel like helping other Christians, I don’t have a sick faith, I have a dead faith. James is laying it on the line. He says, “Do you want real faith? It’s more than just something you say and it’s more than just something you feel.” Evaluate yourself here.