Growing up, I have always loved music. “Heavy” music to be exact. Yes, the stuff you probably would call “screamo” is the type of music that got me into music in the first place. My tastes have adapted and evolved over time, but it is this type of music that still holds a very special place in my life.

The interesting thing about this type of music is not the intense vocals or distorted guitars, but the culture, or “scene,” that surrounds it. There are many different sub cultures that I won’t get into and that I don’t know enough about, but what I do know is that I’m able to tell if someone likes similar music as me just by how they act or by the way they look—the colors they’re wearing, if their keys are on a carabiner or not, the type of shoes they have on, and what they order at the coffee shop all allude to their involvement in this music scene.

I know this all sounds like I’m judging a book by it’s cover, but it’s not judgment, it’s simply observation. Of course, it’s not always right, there are tons of exceptions, and that’s okay.

But as I was reading the Bible the other day I came across these two verses that got me thinking, and honestly, kind of freaked me out.

What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?
James 2:14

If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.
James 3:13

James is Jesus’ brother, so he had a solid example of how to live right by his side for most of his life. In this passage we see James discussing what it means to be a Christian—is it based only on believing, or on the actions we live out? In these few verses, James shows us that the answer is not either of these, but both.

Just as I am able to identify if someone has similar music tastes as me based on what they look like or how they act, I should also be able to do the same to Christians. But this is much harder for some reason, and that’s scary.

Knowing that I have faith and believe in Jesus, my actions should show this… but do they? Do yours? That’s a haunting question for me, because what does it mean if they can’t? What does that say about how I am living my life?

Like I said, these questions are scary, but I believe that keeping these things in mind, helps us stay on track. It reminds us that Christianity is not simply all in our heads and hearts, but in our actions as well. We can’t go around saying, “I love Jesus, and He loves you too” as we walk past people in our community everyday who do not have access to God and are lost, yet we do nothing.

Faith without good deeds is dead. One is not greater than the other, they are directly tied to each other and are equally dependent on one another.

We all can improve in this area, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is important to keep in mind as we go about our lives as followers of Jesus.

What can you do today that to improve this area of your life? Do you tend to lean more towards a faith based relationship with Jesus, or an action based one? Let us know in the comments, we would love to discuss with you!