Today we come to a discussion in James, chapter 2 starting at verse 14 between faith and works. This debate comes up through out scripture. Did Jesus prefer Mary, who sat at his feet possibly seeking faith, more than the doer Martha who was overwhelmed with the tasks at hand? Social justice vs pietism. Mystics and monastics or demonstrators. We see this next section reflected in our world today as we deal with systemic evil, refugees and other issues like capital punishment. Each of us feels we are trying to live a life congruent with our beliefs but struggle with the perceived finger of the other who tackles life differently.
I note that James places the discussion in the context of a trial (1:2) when our faith is being tested. Perhaps the question is, must another’s expression of faith be the same as my preferred expression? Is the choir as “holy” as the Bible study or as the women in the kitchen? James seems to be saying that faith speaks, expresses itself. It is not an analytical fact that I agree to like believing Washington was the first President. Faith finds expression but then we trip on favoritism at the beginning of chapter 2. We all want to think we are doing life right. The discussion of the “body of Christ” discussion in Romans guides us as the eyes and ears vie for positions of importance but as someone who has recently struggled with back pain, I can testify that a back that does not allow you to bend down to take an object off the shelf at Walmart, negates all insights my eyes have on which price is best.
Faith is a living, expressing, growing expression of our personhood, unique to us to be shared with others. And so back to the beginning, if we are unsure how to express our faith, wisdom comes from God and we must not doubt and be tossed about by comparing ourselves to others. We must not judge another’s expression of faith and so take the place of God. May we rejoice in the diversity of expression today and refuse the little voice that would diminish us in God’s eyes. We are each his child and he is working in all our lives. Blessings as you seek to live faith today following the law of love.