“The Complete Regimen”

The Upper Room devotional reflection for Sunday, August 1, 2021 comes to us from Mark A. Carter of Oregon.


James 2:14-24

14 What good is it, my brothers, and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?

15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.

16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?

17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.

19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. 20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?

21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?

22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.

23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.

24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. Just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead. James 2:26 (NRSV)

Just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.

James 2:26 (NRSV)

The Complete Regimen


My doctor suggested that I lose weight, and he gave me a new diet plan which I began to follow. However, despite my efforts I was losing very little weight. At my next appointment, I asked my doctor what I was doing wrong. He asked me what exercise I was doing, and for how long. I told him that exercising was too time-consuming and that I figured the right diet should be enough. But he told me it takes exercise to make any diet complete – one without the other will not lead to success.


Sure enough, when I did start mixing the two together on a daily basis, I was able to lose weight. And even though I didn’t think I had the time for it, after a while exercise began to fit easily into my schedule.


When I first came to the Lord, I learned a similar lesson. In the beginning, daily Bible reading, and prayer made me feel better about myself, but I didn’t really feel God’s Spirit until I began doing volunteer work, both for my church and in my community. The work made the message of Jesus come alive in me. Like my physical body, my spiritual body needs exercise to keep it healthy. Whatever time it takes from my schedule, the reward is always worth the effort.


Prayer Focus:

Someone beginning a New Health regimen.


Thought for the Day:

Putting my faith into action is my daily work.


Prayer:

Heavenly Father, help us to care for our bodies and our spirits so that we may live abundantly with you. Amen. from Mark A. Carter of Oregon

 

Friends – I really appreciate the idea that our service is one of the ways we exercise our faith. It is my experience that serving others usually serves those offering the service as much, if not more, than those who are receiving it.


When I was a teenager, the youth of my church routinely served at a mission in Mexico, and in many ways, those experiences certainly transformed my faith. Similarly, those young adults who participate in ASP or other mission events, often return home, sharing about their renewed faith and new understandings of God in their lives.

--Pastor bea