Real Compassion

15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead (James 2:15-17).

Do you know anyone who is poor or has ever been poor? Have you ever seen a poor person on the street or been approached by someone in dire need? Maybe your own family or someone in your extended family is currently in a situation like this or has been in the past.

But even if you don’t know anyone like this or have ever been in a situation like this, everyone should know what it is like to be spiritually impoverished. This is how all of us were before God saved us through his gospel, the word of truth that he has implanted in our hearts.

In light of how God has shown us extreme amounts of mercy by forgiving us our sins, adopting us into his family, promising us an eternal inheritance, and empowering us with his Spirit, wouldn’t it follow that we’d want to display that we are so thankful for this mercy by showing this type of mercy to those who really need it in our world today?

This is what is called being “consistent”. It means that our beliefs and our actions are united. What we say we are and what we actually are are the same. It is important to note that no one, except for Jesus, has ever been perfectly consistent but James wants us to remember what has been done for us so that we can show that same kind of mercy to others. He want us to display that we “get it” by living in a certain way. He says that if we don’t live this way, it might means that the faith that we claim to have is really no faith at all. It is “dead”.

Read Psalm 108:6-8
• How does this verse describe God’s character?
• In what ways can you grow more like him in tangible ways?

Our Father, help us to see the needs of others as an opportunity to show that our faith is not dead but is completely alive. Help us to honor you in the way we live. We confess that we have not been as compassionate as we should be. Help us to see your compassion for us so that it can spill over to those around us who need it most. In Jesus’ name, Amen.