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?
James 2:16 (NIV)
As a follower of Christ, faith alone without the corresponding actions is as meaningless as telling someone who is desperate for necessities of life to depart in peace without attempting to meet their needs or helping the situation materially. The main intent of this scripture is to show that true faith is seen in actions but not words because true believing is not an act of understanding only, but a work of the full mind, body and soul. Considering a case of one who is hungry or naked, what the person needs is more than just good wishes or mere sympathy, but the acts prompted by the good wishes and kind words which could include meeting some of the needs of the person in the same way Jesus fed the five thousand people to meet their physical needs in addition to sharing the word with them (Mark 6:30-44).
As the Christian faith is rooted in God, you therefore should do all things in obedience to God with an aim of being acceptable in His presence. Using a simple analogy of a fruit producing tree, faith can be considered as the roots and good works as the fruits which depend on the roots and yet the former (the roots) are not so useful if it does not produce the latter (the fruit). Therefore, you must see to it that you have both faith and the resultant actions as a true follower of Christ.
This is the third in the “Act with Justice” series of blog posts and is written by PEER Servants volunteer Alemi Todoko, originally from Koboko, Uganda but now residing in Juba, South Sudan.