What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. – James 2:14-17
Many have discussed this topic before….deeds being done. The struggle is between people doing good deeds because they want to earn something or doing good deeds because they want to. My personal opinion is this: when you make a true choice to love God and live for him, you will naturally have a tendency to do good things. I’m not saying that only God loving people can do good things. What I am saying is that the more you love God the more you will want to do good things because it’s what is inside you. That faith alone won’t be enough any more. You will want to also make daily actions that accompany that faith.
My son is a typical 15 year old teenager. He cares a lot about his friends, sports, and having fun. At this age, teenagers tend to care more about what is happening directly to them and less about a broader world around them. I feel as if my son often defies that norm and is actually pretty sensitive to the needs of those around him on a regular basis.
Earlier this year he was finishing up his lunch at the table of boys he always sits with at his high school. Across the way was the table of girls that some of his friends sit at. He noticed one of his friends swallowing a pill. He cleaned up his lunch and went over to talk with them. That’s when his friend told him that she accidentally consumed some nuts in her lunch and she is allergic. She had taken a Benadryl to hopefully offset an allergic reaction. She got on her phone and called her mom to let her know what happened. Her mom wanted her to go to the nurse but she didn’t want to. My son agreed with her mom and told her that he would walk with her, since her girlfriends weren’t done eating yet.
Not only did he walk with her, but he stayed with her as she sat in the nurse’s office. As the reaction appeared to be getting worse he told me he just talked with her about other things to try to get her mind off the situation and to help her stay calm. Eventually she had to go in the back and administer her EPI pen. And still my son stayed waiting. At 15 my son hasn’t really gotten rid of his fear of needles. When he was about 3 he hid under the chairs at the doctor’s office in hopes we wouldn’t give him his vaccinations. Needles just make him light headed and sickly. He told me that when he heard the EPI pen countdown his knees got weak and he was glad that he was sitting in the chair.
At any point in time my son could’ve left his friend. He could’ve dropped her off at the nurse and left. He could’ve sat with her until she needed the EPI pen and left. But instead he wanted to help his friend through this difficult time. He stayed until the police and her mom showed up to take her to the emergency room (as is the protocol for someone who had an EPI pen administered). He walked her out alongside her mom and then offered to take her homework and turn it in for one of the classes that she would miss.
This is the perfect example of just wanting to do a good deed, not because he was trying to earn her love or God’s love. He just wanted to do right for a person he cared for. His faith runs deep and his care for others naturally runs deep too.
We must remember though that we are also human. On the flipside of this equation is the fact that we will fall short. It is in our nature to fall short. However, what I’ve learned over the years is that when I do fall short it takes me a whole lot less time to realize I have fallen, and I want to get back up a whole lot quicker then before. I know that God wants more of me then the days of my selfish and sinful nature. My deep faith helps me come to terms with those days quicker. I ask for forgiveness quicker. I apologize quicker. Essentially I am better equipped to get up, dust myself off, and continue on the journey. God’s love and my deep faith of that love make that possible. In that way I have way more opportunities to show kindness in action. My faith is made complete by those actions.
Dig deep into your faith this week. Really think about what your faith means in your life. Are you repenting quicker? Do you become aware of your shortfalls quicker? Take time to sit with God this week: thank him for his unending love, thank him for your relationship, repent of your shortcomings, and ask him to show you more ways you can show kindness in action.