A small church in Southern California recognized an opportunity to express God’s love in a practical way. Believers in Jesus gathered at a local laundromat to give back to their community by washing clothes for those in financial need. They cleaned and folded clothes together, and sometimes provided a hot meal or bags of groceries for recipients.
One volunteer discovered the greatest reward was in the “actual contact with people . . . hearing their stories.” Because of their relationship with Jesus, these volunteers wanted to live out their faith through loving words and actions that helped them nurture genuine relationships with others.
The apostle James affirms that every act of a professing believer’s loving service is a result of genuine faith. He states that “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:14–17). Declaring we believe makes us children of God, but it’s when we serve Him by serving others that we act as believers who trust and follow Jesus (v. 24). Faith and service are as closely interdependent as the body and the spirit (v. 26), a beautiful display of the power of Christ as He works in and through us.
After personally accepting that God’s sacrifice on the cross washes us in perfect love, we can respond in authentic faith that overflows into the ways we serve others.
The book of James has been compared to the book of Proverbs because both contain practical advice for living out a life of faith in God. James 2:14–26 is foundational for understanding the relationship between our faith and works. James introduces this topic early in his letter (1:27) and continues to tell his readers that true faith is demonstrated by actions.