“Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”
Everything has characteristics. When you look at the characteristics of something or someone, you are describing what they look like and what they normally do. Some characteristic is that someone always listens, they are very alert, they are studious, they are caring, or they always ask questions. These are just some characteristics that explain people. When looking at the characteristics of a losing team, you will find they are prone to penalties, make bad judgment calls at critical moments of a game, blame the referees for bad calls, and they don’t play up to their standard the whole game. You will notice that all of these characteristics are actions. Everything has characteristics that define who or what they are.
Faith also has characteristics. We often talk about the importance of faith as if it is some possession to hold, but faith is more than an object that we obtain, but it is a characteristic that produces works. James says in verse 17, “…faith, if it hath not works, is dead…” He says in the verse above that he shows his faith by his works. A person of faith always has certain characteristics that allows them to do great things for God. Let me share these characteristics of faith with you so that you can implement them into your life.
First, faith is optimistic. When you look at the great works of faith in the Scriptures, you will always see that they were optimistic about what could be done. Joshua and Caleb were optimistic that they could take the Promised Land. It was their faith that gave them an optimistic outlook. David was optimistic that he could defeat Goliath, and he did because his faith gave him the outlook that God could help him win this great battle. A pessimistic person never sees great works of faith in their life because of their choice to doubt God’s ability to do. However, it is amazing how an optimistic person sees so many great works of faith, and the reason is because their optimism moves them to believe God can do something with their situation.
Second, faith believes that God can do. Belief is the match that lights the fire of faith to set ablaze the works of God in one’s life. My friend, I would rather be gullible enough to believe that God can do great works today than to let doubt keep God from working through me. Your ability to believe is very dependent upon being optimistic with your outlook. If you have a problem with belief, you might check your outlook on life and change it.
Third, faith produces action. Action is a result of faith, and faith always produces actions. You cannot separate faith and works, because you cannot have one without the other. You show me a person who is inactive in the Christian walk, and I will show you a person who has little to no faith. Building someone’s faith in God’s ability to do is the quickest way to get them to being active in the Christian life.
Fourth, faith works hard. Verse 22 says, “Seest thou how faith wrought with his works…” The word “wrought” means to labor or toil. In other words, faith keeps a person from quitting when times get hard. Faith removes the option of quitting and puts overcoming as the only choice to every obstacle you face. You must become a person of faith if God is going to do any great work through you.