Day 4

Faith Made Complete

from the James reading plan


James 2:14-26, Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Romans 3:23-26, Ephesians 2:8-10

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: James 2:14-26, Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Romans 3:23-26, Ephesians 2:8-10

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

I love that Christian freedom is based on this principle: free, radical grace exists for the undeserving through Jesus. There’s nothing we can do to receive it; there’s nothing we can do to reverse it. Incredible, wonderful, scandalous grace.

That’s why reading James’ words can feel confusing. Is he contradicting grace, saying we’re justified by our works—that without those good works, our faith is as good as dead?

I’ve spent a lot of time grappling with these passages, asking God to open my eyes to what He was saying through these two disciples. On the surface, it seems like they are contradicting one another. Then He reminded me of a breakfast I shared with a friend recently.

I’ve known this friend since I was ten years old. She’s gorgeous, extremely athletic, and was always popular in school. Over the twenty years we’ve known each other, we’ve stayed loosely in touch. Over coffee and eggs, she shared the circumstances of her life—mostly that it hadn’t turned out like she’d planned.

As we talked, I felt God pressing me to speak. It felt strange, so I hesitated, afraid of sounding cheesy or trite. I knew things between us could get awkward. But then I didn’t really feel like I had a choice. So I said it:

“I don’t know why, but I really feel like God wants me to tell you that He loves you.”

I cringed after saying it, wondering if I’d gone too far. But in that moment, something softened. Tears fell down her cheeks. Rather than turning awkward, the entire moment felt sacred.

Hebrews chapter 11 recounts the spiritual giants whose faith in God was counted as righteousness. But that faith wasn’t void of action. A quick perusal of the list and you’ll see it over and over again: verbs.

By faith Abel offered.
By faith Noah built.
By faith Abraham obeyed.

Our God is a God of action. So if you have faith in Him, get ready to move.

This is the beauty of Christianity: our faith in Jesus saves us, and it also frees us from striving to be enough, trying to earn approval, stature, or recognition through what we do. I can do good works without having to worry about measuring the outcome. Faith in Jesus’ final, finished work gives me the security to do good without worrying that I’m doing enough.

This is where it gets crazy. My friend called me a few weeks later to tell me something had radically changed in her heart. From that moment we shared at the breakfast table, she’d felt God in hot pursuit of her. Since then, she’s been spending every morning in His Word, falling in love with Him again.

Is it possible God can use us like that? Is it possible that I’d just experienced a good work He’d prepared for me in advance, one He’d planned for me to do all along? After all, the work isn’t really mine. I’m just His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). I’m an instrument in His hands, playing an essential part in His eternal symphony.

What a gift.

To be saved by grace.
To be invited into God’s work.
To see that, in the end, it’s all His.

 SRT-James-instagram4

Claire Gibson is a freelance writer and editor whose work has been featured both locally and nationally in publications including The Washington Post, and Entrepreneur Magazine. An Army kid who grew up at West Point, New York, Claire is currently growing roots in Nashville, Tennessee. She loves her husband, Patrick, and their dog, Winnie.

Post Comments (112)

112 thoughts on "Faith Made Complete"

  1. Shelly Elston says:

    There’s a song from my younger days by DC Talk, “Love is a Verb”. Yes it’s a Christian Rap Song…but the words…spot on!

    1. Sarah Schumacher says:

      Yessss DC Talk!! That song is truth. Kids don’t know what they’re missing these days lol.

  2. Jennifer says:

    I have a revelation about works now. It’s an action. It’s obeying God and doing what He called you to do. It’s His work. Not our work.

  3. Sydney says:

    I used to be afraid to invite people to church or to small group with me. I was always afraid that they would think I’m some crazy religious nut. I used to keep my faith a total secret.

    Then I realized that jesus didn’t just die on the cross for me to be a Christian on sundays and with other Christians.

    I still struggle with it today in a way. The other day someone asked me what my favorite song was… And i had this internal battle of should I say blah blah worship song and sound like a Christian weirdo? Or should I just say a Beyoncé song to sound normal??

    And now I think about that encounter. Could that single question have developed into a larger conversation about worship music and Jesus and then developing a relationship with Jesus? And then eventually leading that person to Christ?

    Makes me think of how many people I could have already lead to Christ if I would just work harder and SHOW my faith instead of just holding it inside.

    1. Mona Delafuente says:

      Wow! I was just thinking this to myself, have been for quite some time now.

      How do I apply His word in my daily life, how do I show His works through me, how can these daily devotionals that I get up excited to read every morning help me get closer to Him. I feel like all I do is read them then place my bible back on my desk along with those words and Him for that day, till
      Tomorrow. Those same words that run through me as I stare up at the ceiling or out of the window while taking a deap breath; like wow I feel it, i feel Him!

      I pray for his presence and love every time I pray (which isn’t every day or as often as I’d like) in hopes of living through Him.

      My faith in God just began a couple of years ago (not that I didn’t believe there was a God, just lacking faith and prayer).
      Well I think my answer to all those questions is exactly what your post said… I have to not be afraid to mention His name or too embarrassed to sound like a “weirdo” so that I may start to live through Him and walk by faith.

      I am new to this but I’ve wanted more than anything to feel His presence, His love and my faith.

      I’ve always wanted to kids to believe in something else, someone else higher than me (but I’ve lacked the courage to). I need my family to be a family of God, to be children of God.
      I want them to pray to Him, believe in Him, live through Him especially after I’m gone. They need that… they need Him, we all do. I felt “weird” bringing up His name even to my kids/husband, still do. Like they’ll think I’m some hypocrite or something. But now my oldest is in college and doesn’t pray or has much faith. My middle
      (12 year old) doesn’t really show any interest, then again she’s 12 lol so I can still work on her. But how!?. I still need to work on myself.

      I’m praying I can change all that even with my 18 year old and I also pray I can get it all figured out by the time my soon to be 2 year old twins are old enough to believe.

      I’ve felt the need to comment many times (my first time) after reading the daily devotions or after reading someone’s comment but haven’t built the courage to, till now.

      1. Mona Delafuente says:

        Oops My kids* not to kids.

      2. Morgan says:

        Proverbs 22:6 comes to mind: “Train up a child in the way in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it”. As mothers sometimes we struggle with how to spiritually feed ourselves while also teaching our children about our choice to follow Christ. But I don’t think we have to choose one or the other. Lately I have found that my personal study here on She Reads Truth is perfect to share with my kids. I do my study and then throughout my day I share what I have learned with my kids. I’m honest with them about my own failings and how that while I fail it doesn’t change the truth of who God is and what Christ has done. I am a sinner and my children know that, but they also know that I strive to be more and more like Christ. With my littlest ones I tell them bible stories and sing songs about how the Lord loves us (my youngest is one). It’s never too early to start. I hope this all doesn’t make me sound like I have it all figured out, far from it at times, but I ask God to help me keep that end goal in mind. Above all else I want my children to know and worship God while I am here and when I am gone. Sometimes I go days without teaching them like I should; days where I don’t want to impart His Truth for a multitude of unimportant reasons (though they feel important at the time). But I have found that God is faithful to help me get back on track when I stray. I hope this has been encouraging. I have never responded to someone’s post before and it feels a little strange. I pray for you and your children that you will have the comfort someday of being a mother who’s children believe and walk in Truth, I pray the same for myself as well. Blessings ❤️

  4. Mish Pope says:

    I love this. Go do! And you are saved. You are free form the external bondage of perfection and box ticking the world presses into us.

  5. Heidi says:

    I love what you said “So if you have faith in Him, get ready to move!”

  6. Zoe says:

    The book of James is the perfect salve for a broken heart and relationship lost. ♥️

    1. Heather says:

      I love this. I was just telling my husband I am loving the book of James and he asked me why and I said it just felt very applicable to some things I’m going through right now (healing my relationship with the Lord) and your comment perfectly summed it up ❤️

  7. Jodi says:

    Praise the Lord! God is using this James study to get me back on track with my morning time with Him. I have learned much. Most of all I have learned that my faith has to be fed, filled up, each morning because if not then my works are dead in the fact that they are not works that glorify Him. I recently hit a dry patch and wasn’t choosing God early each day and that compromise turned into a couple weeks of no bible in the morning. Which turned into me reacting badly in a situation that should have shown God’s mercy and love. So from that bad scenario I was called back to God’s word and led into this study, which I started before the dry patch and lo and behold God called me back to it!
    Thank you for hearing His voice and telling your friend He loves her, it’s true!!
    I pray we all keep that at the front of our minds and I pray we don’t compromise time reading the Bible every day, we aren’t really too busy. We are on God’s timetable after all!
    Saved by grace, imagine that.

  8. Britt says:

    These verses from James are so encouraging! I loved the phrase the commentator used – if you have faith, get ready to move! When I was in college, I really felt God calling me to move to a new a big city to teach elementary school. Many people ask why I choose to teach in urban education. The work is hard, I see and experience first hand the trauma that comes from the brokenness in our world in young children every day. Only Jesus can truly help the hurt, and I am thankful for the opportunities I have to share my faith by these works, whether it is holding a crying child, giving a family a ride home, or helping with a food and clothing drive. These very practical works breath life and love into communities that need it most. I have been debating this summer if it is time for me to move to another -easier- educational setting, but these verses have really encouraged me to continue sharing His love, grace, and mercy with those who need it most, and to be out of my comfort zone and showing others my faith daily! Thank you for sharing!

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