I had to chew on this one for a while. On the surface this passage seems to say we are justified by works, not by faith but that is not quite what it says in truth.
James tells us that if we do not live out our faith, work through our faith, our faith is useless, dead. We receive our training, we work to grow in knowledge and truth, and we grow in the Spirit receiving gifts from God. If we do not use those gifts, what good are they?
If I were to study and learn and be blessed with the gift of music but did not use that gift to bless the Lord, I have wasted it. It would be like saying “I am a concert pianist” and yet never touching a keyboard to share it. I can say I am a professor or teacher but my claim is void if I do not teach.
Faith is one of the fruits of the Spirit, according to Paul. Fruit does not come if there is no nourishment to the plant it grows on. Faith grows in us as we receive nourishment in the Lord. Once the fruit is evident, James calls us to share it so it does not fall to the ground and rot.
How do I manifest my faith? How do I work for the Lord, showing my faith is alive and well? What more am I being called to do in faith?
You have blessed the work of my heart and hands in the past, yet when whispers to move forward come, I balk. Erase the fear from my heart and fill that space with faith in you. Move my feet, my hands, and my heart. Move me step by step, forward and let my works reflect a living faith, this day and all days. Amen.