Faith Means Action by Lisa Burkhardt Worley

“Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17).

Over the years there has been controversy over what constitutes salvation. Can one pray a prayer acknowledging Jesus then go back to their old lifestyle? I would question the sincerity of that prayer, but only God knows the heart.

I prayed a prayer to receive Jesus when I was fourteen-years-old. For a while my life changed. In high school my actions indicated that I was a Christian, but beginning in college until I was in my early thirties, I did not act any differently than anyone else. How could that happen? Doesn’t the Holy Spirit begin the process of sanctification as soon as Jesus is acknowledged as Messiah?

It’s interesting to do a word study on “faith.” In the Old Testament, the word for faith is emunah. It means “to take firm action.” This word is used to describe the faith that Abraham, the father of the Jewish people, had. It is a faith in God that results in action. In the New Testament the word for faith is pistis. It is always used as a verb, indicating action. That is why when we have true faith and we truly believe, action will always follow.

I did not act on my faith until I surrendered my entire life to God. After a difficult career crash, I realized that in my own power, I could not handle the tragedies and disappointments in life. I needed almighty God to direct my steps, and I no longer wanted to move forward without His light in front of me. That is when my faith blossomed. Pastor and Author Francis Chan says, “Fruit trees bear fruit and people with genuine faith in Christ put out the fruit of good works.”

Are you a believer in word only, or do you have a passion to serve God? Works will never get us to Heaven, but they should always follow our profession of faith.

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