Challenge: James 2

Gwen Smith Blog, Christian Living, Comparison, Scripture, Worth 51 Comments

Today is DAY 2 of our James Word Challenge! I hope you are loving this time in Scripture as much as I am.

James 2.13 mercy over judgement

Once again, let’s discuss the verses that move us most and the lessons that God is challenging us with in His Word in the comments section below. Are you ready?


READ: Read James 2

REFLECT: Pause to consider how this passage should affect the way you believe and behave. Pray. Journal. Worship.

RESPOND: by leaving a comment below. Say, “James Rocks!”  just for fun – then,  post your favorite verse or share how today’s reading spoke to your heart and spurred you on toward Christ. Respond to one another with encouragement. C’mon, friends! Have some fun down there!


The two major themes are convicting and compelling: favoritism and faith that works.

DON’T SHOW FAVORITISM (v1-13)… In a world that is smitten with fame and fortune, it has become such a natural (and completely sinful) response to pay special attention to those in the limelight and to people of power, beauty and means. What an ugly reality. God’s ways are so much deeper and wider with love.

Mercy triumphs over judgement! (v13) Yes and amen. Great reminder!

A friend of mine recently told me about her elderly daddy. She said, “Every time I’ve ever seen my daddy, he asks me the same question, “Sweetheart, what have you done today to make someone else’s life better?”

Such a great question.

FAITH MUST WORK (v14-26)… Although we certainly do not earn salvation through good deeds, true faith is accompanied by actions. Walk the walk. Talk the talk. Classic and basic Christian stuff… BUT may the familiar nature of the concept never cause us to tune out this compassionate call to live God’s love!

Though this chapter is not overly complicated in content, it is chock full of challenge, isn’t it? I’m freshly reminded that we are to treat everyone with dignity, no matter who they are or what their status.

PRAYER of RESPONSE: Lord, You are perfectly loving and all-giving. I fall so short of Your standard! Please forgive me!  Help me to look at others and see who you see. Help me to respond others with dignity, honor, kindness and love as you do, regardless of their position or economic status. When I am judgmental, bring conviction and correction to my heart. Purify me in Your grace that sees beyond any external package. Make me more like You! Father, I also ask that You would open my eyes each day to see opportunities where my faith can become action. Show me, Lord, where I can be more effective for you… through service to others, through words spoken, through words left unspoken, through implementing spiritual disciplines – like prayer, Bible reading and fasting – that help me to know you and your Word more intimately. Make me more like You! Help me live Your love. In Jesus’ name, amen.

WORSHIP RESPONSE: Click on the song and allow the song to lead you in continued response…

Thanks for doing life with me! Can’t wait to hear how the LORD moves in you through this challenge.

Warmly in Christ,


PS: If you enjoyed this challenge, let’s keep in touch! Subscribe to my newsletter. Big Bonus: when you subscribe to the newsletter, you will receive a free song download of a my song Quiet Me ! How fun is that?

PSS: The graphics in each challenge post are PINNABLE! Share the challenge on your Pinterest Board simply by hovering over one of the graphics and clicking PIN IT. Easy peasy! :)

PSSS: Got TWITTER? Tweet out what moves you during the challenge and use the hashtag#jameschallenge (I tweet at @GwenSmithMusic)

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Comments 51

  1. Remember to be merciful to others… I need to do this daily.
    26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. This verse summarizes the whole chapter perfectly…Faith without action is dead. Wow so powerful you can’t have one without the other! Such a strong truth.

  2. James Rocks! So many great takeaways from James 2. I loved being able to reflect through journaling my thoughts – and when I began I found it hard to stop. Challenged by so much. I love verses 12-13 that speak about mercy. Thanks for challenging us, Gwen!

  3. Found you by a friend on FB who was sharing you and your study. I decided to take a look and I’ve done James 1 and 2 thus far and thoroughly enjoy it. Thank you for your study.

  4. James ROCKS!!!! Amazing. The whole chapter is a Big life reminder! Loved it all! It actually reminded me of when one of my children gets in trouble they say that their sibling must be my favorite because they didn’t get into trouble. I always search for the right words so I don’t upset anyone…boy will we be reading a lot of James 2: i pray it brings them a better understanding although its not the same it goes hand in hand) i really love how James breaks it down for us and gives examples Im excited to go home and share with my family and see what great discussions we get!! Thank you God bless: )

  5. Chapter 2 is much like chapter 1. WALK THE WALK. Don’t just wish God’s blessing on a person…wish it and show God’s blessing by being a servant to that person. This portion of the chapter made me realize that I am truly not doing enough for others, even if I do feel that I am doing a lot. I am a lawbreaker…we all are. But it is God’s grace and mercy that allows us to be forgiven for breaking His laws and it is these things and our faith that allows us to be more mindful the next time around and not do the wrong again.

    God does not play favorites and He calls us to be like Christ so why do we play favorites? If God played favorites, the Israelites would have never been lost. His chosen ones would always be on the path to righteousness and would not be effected by greed and power and Jesus would have never been sent to forgive us of our sins. He died for ALL of humanity that they should come to know and live through Him. He did not just die for those to believe.

  6. “James Rocks!”
    The verses that pricked my heart were: (15) Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. (16) If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?

    The reason these verses stood out to me is, I had just seen a news report of a woman with five children who was robbed of everything she owned. I remember saying a quick prayer for her, then hoping that someone would see the report and help her.
    I wonder how often I do that, without even considering that I might be able to help someone?

  7. JAMES ROCKS!!!! As I reflect on the message it brings memories of my previous job. It was a copy place so people of all walks if life came through the doors and, I’d like to say I treated them all the same but I know deep on my heart I didn’t. I know when certain people walked in, our top sales businesses, we all would jump to help him/her and then the “average Joe” would get ignored unless of course they looked like they were something. I pray we all learn this message and apply it to our lives. I can only imagine how everyone would change if we all treated each other as we were the “best”, if we all ignored everything about the person except that they were our brother or sister and created by God. What a wonderful place tis would be.

  8. James Rocks, and when you add Psalms 119 into the mix it just EXPOLDES!!!!
    James 2 is a chapter about goodness, kindness, and mercy, topped off with action. Psalm 119:36 and 37 “Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in Your ways” Just a really wow moment for me today, as I realized that what I may see as value with my “world vision” is actually really worthless when seen through “God’s eyes” My actions must be for His glory and not my own. When I listen to what He says with my whole heart, I can walk in goodness, and extend kindness and mercy, because it’s no longer me, but Christ in me. He becomes more and I become less.

  9. James rocks! So enjoyed reading James 2 today. Loved the messages it brings and am working at applying them to my everyday life. Thanks again.


    One of the many verses that stuck out me was verse 12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment…

  11. Yesterday morning I read James 2 and loved it, but the Scripture really hit me hard later that day at work. I had a customer come in my office, that clearly wasn’t making right choices in her life. It was very awkward. I felt I needed to say as little as possible to her and somehow show I don’t approve of it. God really chalanged me to show mercy to her by being extra kind even though I don’t have to agree with her lifestyle choices. I can treat her as one made in the God’s image even though she does not realize that. That moment Holy Spirit reminded me of what I read in the morning. Wow! It is these kind of people that is hard not to show favoritism to. Better yet after she left i had a discussion with my coleges and I was able to share with them what God just did. It was amazing, I was able to honor Him before my coworkers who also need him just as much as this lady. James rocks!

    1. Kristine, thank you for teaching what Christ likeness looks like when we choose to walk as He walks. Just as Jesus did with the woman caught in adultery and the woman at the well, you extended grace to someone who was probably expecting none. In doing so you allowed her to find some dignity, you may not ever see the fruit of it, but you planted, and others can come along behind and water, until it is ready to be harvested.

  12. James Rocks…… my world!
    I love that the book of James is so practical and gets right to the heart of the matter. I admit, I have been guilty of showing preference to some people over others. I think our culture conditions us toward that kind of thinking. Celebrity fame is flaunted before us and we fall for it. I have to remind myself of Romans 12:1-2 and not be conformed, molded, shaped by the world’s way of thinking and doing things. I’m also convicted about my lack good deeds backing up my faith!
    I read James chapter 2 again in the NIV and Amplified versions. I like how the Amplified puts these verses.

    “17 So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead).

    18 But someone will say [to you then], You [say you] have faith, and I have [good] works. Now you show me your [alleged] faith apart from any [good] works [if you can], and I by [good] works [of obedience] will show you my faith.”

  13. James Rocks! 🙂
    2: 22 “Faith and deeds walking together”
    2: 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
    Learning point for me: To live what you believe. Your character is your deed. That’s what I’ve been learning on the last months.

  14. James 2:24- You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

    Worlds do not save, but they truly show where your heart is. May I show my love for others daily and lift my own heart to be cleansed. I want others to see Jesus in me! James rocks!!

  15. This is my first. Small beginnings! I have been trying to get back into God’s word. Years ago I would get up and pray and read first thing in the morning, boy have I strayed from that. I love verse 23 – And the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. The words, Abraham believed God, also he was called the friend of God! Love it!

  16. This inspires me…….8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,”[b] also said, “You shall not murder.”[c] If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.Mercy triumphs over judgment…

  17. JAMES ROCKS!!! But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. (James 2:18, 26 ESV). I hear a lot today about Grace which is so special to my heart, but this verse is soo important too. For me, it just comes naturally. I love Jesus so much I want to share and do things for Him. I’m glad God addressed this too in the Bible!!

  18. James Rocks!!! 25-26 The same with Rahab, the Jericho harlot. Wasn’t her action in hiding God’s spies and helping them escape—that seamless unity of believing and doing—what counted with God? The very moment you separate body and spirit, you end up with a corpse. Separate faith and works and you get the same thing: a corpse.

  19. 14-17 Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense? James 2:14-17 The Message Bible. Good Challenge!

    So to operate in anything less than will cause us to fall into works.

  21. James Rocks. I’ve read James before, many times. This time there are things that I am seeing differently than before. Messages having a deeper meaning, especially dealing with Faith without good deeds. I am doing a self check of this, as I continue seeking my Father.

  22. Joined the James challenge and find it amazing that my friends in west Africa posted from James 2 today and we discussed how he wanted to help his people more,.. Faith by itself . If it is not accompanied by action is dead..

  23. James Rocks!!

    In a time when giving felt so good and scary, I embraced at the time knowing that what we were doing was good.
    Its funny however how Satan creeps in to the mind, has me thinking…did we do the right thing, then receive two huge bills one needs asap payment, one that will take several years to pay off, and an uncertainty of living. So Satan has been playing in my playground…..Meany. So seeing the James challenge I jump on knowing I NEED NEED this, I have to keep my mind clear my heart free and know God will take care of our family.
    My favs tonight were:

    James2:24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

    James2:26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead

  24. James Rocks!

    Love partiality law or favoritism…it is just everywhere in this world. A place of perfect justice is hard to find. Favoritism cause pains and turmoil It’s unfair

    The verse I pick is ‘For judgement is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.’

    So do good deeds. It guarantees mercy.

  25. James Rocks!!!

    “18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God.Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. 20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”[e] and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. Very challenging stuff right here!!! You think because you believe there is only one God, you got something…guess what, here’s a news flash, the demons know that and they what? They shudder!!! Kind of puts you in your place real quick don’t it? A little holy smack down! Then he follows it up by saying, “You foolish person”, do I have to prove it to you that your faith without deeds is useless? And then he brings the reminder, look at Abraham, his faith and actions were working together! And his faith was made complete BY WHAT HE DID! And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called God’s friend! That is some good solid stuff right there! Help us Lord to not only be hearers of your word, but move in our hearts that we might become women of action, women that put our faith where our mouths are glorify you in our actions and in how we live our lives! Help us dear Lord!

  26. James rocks!

    Offbeat I know but what stood out to me was verse 1. Our Lord is glorious! I don’t hear Him spoken of that way very often.

  27. James Rocks!!!
    My favorite verse is verse 5: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?
    I am wondering how many Christians who are struggling to make a living know how rich they are in Christ? Wealth is not about acquiring stuffs. It’s all about loving God and others.

  28. James Rocks!

    The verse that speaks to me is v. 24 “You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.”

    What good is it to pray for someone or as verse 16 say “wish you well” if we make no tangible attempts to really help their situation? If it is in the realm of possibilities to be there for someone in deed and not just with words, that is the BEST thing! I am a helper by nature and I regularly pray that God will allow me to be a blessing to someone in word, deed and in truth! Not for glory but just to be good and loving. It is what God expects 🙂

  29. James TOTALLY rocks!

    What got me today: verses 12-14, “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom,because judgement without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

    I have a hard time showing mercy, because I want justice. I just need to stop and remember this passage, and also remember where I would be going if God was as bent on justice as I am.

  30. First time commenter! I don’t recall how I stumbled on to you yesterday, but I did and began the James challenge with you. (funny how He works) Really needing this right now, I feel as if my bible study time is growing stale and this is helping to liven it back up!
    My favorite today:10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,”[b] also said, “You shall not murder.”[c] If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.
    A sin is a sin! Our sins maybe different, but we all are sinners, AND His grace can cover them ALL!!!

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