A Breath of Fresh Air

Jon Burgess


“Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.”



The Book of James puts feet to our faith and shows how the inside must inform the outside. It's not good enough to simplysay I have faith if my neighbors never see the proof of it. It's a direct contradiction to the love of God to say Ibelieve in the God who came for me but don’t feel the need to do the same for others. I lovehow James uses two examples of "faith and works" from two opposite ends of the hall of faith. Onone side you have Abraham the father of our faith and on the other Rahab the prostitute. Yet, in God's eyesthey were both a breath of fresh air to their generation because of their faith in action. In other words, this faith lived out isn'tjust reserved for the super spiritual but is for all who believe! It isn’t just for when I feel like it, but is for every moment.


Every single time I serve others instead of myself it's like a breath of fresh air to my soul. I come alive insideand feel refreshed by living out my faith- especially when I don't feel like it. I'm laughing becauseJames is knocking on the door of my heart this morning. This past Sunday evening as the sun was setting, mywife Cyndi decided it was a good time to wash the cars. She didn't ask me to help but I knew that I shouldoffer. I didn't want to. I was tired. I had just finished five services and a funeral service and I just wanted to chill out.What's my excuse though? Cyndi had preached those five services with me and now she was out there scrubbing mud off myhub caps. So, I went out there and joined her. Guess what? It was a breath of fresh air. It felt good to serve her andmy family. Then my neighbor to my left was driving away and slowed down to ask, "Can you do mine next?" Ipolitely laughed as they drove away and I thought to myself, "Not on your life. After these two cars I'm done." Then,wouldn't you know it, just as I was almost done, the elderly widow neighbor on my right drives up to her house.She walks over and says, "How much do you charge? I could really use a wash". I tried the same tactic as I hadwith my other neighbor and laughed awkwardly until she walked into her house. In other words, "not gonnahappen lady”. I know. I’m an awful pastor. Then, the same God who inspired these words to James about faith in action spoke to me, "Gowash her car". I didn't want to. The sun was going down. The towels were wet. I was wet. "Go wash her car".So, reluctantly I went to ask if I could wash her car and she was overjoyed. She tried to offer us money whichof course we refused and it led in to a great conversation about her family and her past. Guess what? It was a breath offresh air. Not just to my faith but also to our friendship with our neighbor. The body is dead without breath andfaith is dead without good works. I'm usually never going to feel like serving but I sure like how my faith feelswhen I do!

Thank You Lord for surrounding me with multiple opportunities both at home and at work to be a breath offresh air to those around me. Forgive me for allowing my faith to be so self-serving and directed bymy emotions. No matter how I'm feeling in any given moment let me breath deep and serve well!

Devotions for July 18

Isaiah 32,33,34,35
James 2

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