February 29, 2024 Devotional

“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” — James 2:26

I’m not much for zombie movies. If that takes me down a notch in your book, then I’m OK with that. Whenever I watch movies with living dead ‘people’ walking around causing trouble, it freaks me out a little. Even though I know zombies are a Hollywood creation and not a real thing (we know that, right?), I still think it’s weird to have post-human people, who are not really living, running around doing unmentionable, un-dead things.

When I read this passage from James, it reminds me that as followers of Jesus, we not only need to be filled with the Holy Spirit, but we then need to do the acts of service and love that the Spirit empowers us to do. If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, then we are justified and regenerated by a gracious God whose sacrifice on the cross made a way for us to be forgiven and freed from the punishment of sin.

Yet – as we’ll soon celebrate on Easter – Jesus rose from the grave to defeat death forever for us, and then sent the Holy Spirit to fill us. It’s that death-defying rise and that deed-inspiring indwelling of the Spirit that separates us from those who are alive in Christ, but not actively engaged in the work of Jesus today. As those who are saved from an eternity apart from God, we are also called to live for Him today with every part of our hearts, souls, minds, and bodies.

We’re two weeks into this Lenten season. We’ve already had the opportunity to begin the process of reflection about who God is and who we are to God. This season calls us deeper into the relationship we have with Jesus by the presence and power of the living Spirit in us. That Spirit is what is making us alive, not only in body and mind, but soul and heart. Let the Holy Spirit assure you of your salvation. John Wesley was convinced that we could know that we are saved. Yet, Wesley also made it very clear that faith without the outward expression of good deeds was like walking around as an undead believer.

There are no zombies. In this season, ask yourself how you are living out your faith as a true believer. Reflect on the Spirit in you, and how the Spirit is empowering you to do great things in great numbers in Jesus name. Ask how Jesus wants you to use your hands and feet to tell the next person you see about Jesus, who saved you to the uttermost. Then, get out there and put your faith in action for Him. There are lots of people in your life who are walking around dead in sin. A word and deed from you, in Jesus’ name, has the power to make them alive and living for Him.