Happy Thursday! I am blessed to be a part of a group of bloggers who feel led to share a bit of encouragement each week from the Bible. We recognize that the source of our peace, strength, and security in this life comes from Jesus, and we aim to share that with our readers. Plus, when Thursday comes around, we can all use a little encouragement right? I hope that this posting blesses you and that you find strength and rest in the Lord today. God Bless! ❤
This week the verse on my heart to share is James 2:26, but for context I will share the passage it’s found in:
14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good[a] is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
~James 2:14-26 (ESV)
As I shared in an earlier review post this week, I went on a work retreat last weekend with some of the teens from our youth group. The name of the retreat was called the James Project. The camp we visited has groups come in that help with some of the grunt work like cleaning bathrooms, washing dishes, and helping to prepare food. The purpose of the James Project is not just to go to the camp for a weekend and serve people, but to to encourage an understanding that although works don’t save us (only faith in Christ can), they are a visible manifestation of our faith. John 15 talks about bearing fruit and how it’s an indicator of our faith, yet it’s also important to recognize that our very ability to bear fruit comes solely from being a part of the vine (Jesus). Jesus is our lifeblood that enables us to bear good fruit.
I was greatly encouraged seeing the teens’ willingness to serve others and work together in ways they weren’t even asked to. Let’s face it, no one is thrilled cleaning a bathroom. Yet I heard one of the teens assigned to bathroom duty declare that she would “make the bathroom sparkle like it never had before.” That my friends, is the right heart to have 🙂
I want to be very clear when I say that works hold no brownie points towards salvation. Salvation comes through faith alone, in Christ alone. Nothing you can do (or don’t do) will be enough to earn your salvation. Jesus paid a price we could never pay. As John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus willingly gave up his life for us. The knowledge of that should change us drastically and shift our focus in this life from self to Christ. Through Jesus we gain an eternal perspective. It should drive us to reach out and share his truth and love with others.
Does your life reflect a changed heart in Christ? Are you living a life that’s pleasing to the Lord or are you still seeking the things of this world? Being a Christian doesn’t mean that we are suddenly perfect, but we should be striving to be more Christ-like in our daily lives.
I know this week’s post is a bit short, but I hope it encourages you today. Whatever you do in this life, you should do it for the Lord. Jesus gave his life for us, so we should live ours for him. Matthew 16:24 says “Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.'”
I will end with a worship song from Casting Crowns. I hope you take a moment to listen and meditate on it. It’s a good one to get stuck in your head for the day 🙂
Now, it’s your turn!
What Biblical verse is encouraging you today?
And, check out more Thursday Encouragement from my fellow blogger friends:
Nicole @ Christian Fiction Girl
Trisha @ Joy of Reading
Jacquelyn @ A Heavenly Home
Jessica @ A Baker’s Perspective