What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? James 2:14
Last week I was in an international airport waiting for my flight. I had some time to kill so I found an empty departure gate. I got out a stack of papers I needed to grade, fired up some Hillsong favorites on my laptop and went to work. All was going well until I spotted a gate agent heading to the check-in desk in front of the gate. This could be trouble.
Suddenly crowds of young people descended on the gate waiting for it to open. They took every available seat around me and stood in the spaces between the seats. And they talked. They all seemed to know each other so there was good natured conversation going on all around in at least 3 languages.
I was pretty unhappy. It was hard to concentrate on grading with all of them moving around in such close proximity and the chatter was so loud I couldn’t hear my laptop even with my headphones. I remember thinking to myself, “Can’t you people leave me alone so I can listen to my Jesus music in peace.”
Of course that was the moment I realized how wrong my heart was. If you care more about listening to your Christian music than showing the spirit of Christ to some young strangers, you might just be a Pharisee. (Yep, I was.) If you care more about getting your family to church on time and well dressed than getting them there in prayerful anticipation, you might be a Pharisee. (That was me, too.) If you care more about making sure you don’t touch a homeless person than trying to minister to them, you are very likely a Pharisee. (Me.)
Where do your actions belie your “beliefs”? Christianity is not just about the propositions we affirm, however orthodox those propositions might be. If what you say you believe doesn’t show up in your actions, you don’t believe in the way James intends in our text for today. Let’s test our words against our actions, brothers and sisters. Christ accepted all manner of repentant sinners, but he unleashed His scorn on hypocritical Pharisees.