James 2:17-18 (ESV)
So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 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.
Then what does it mean? It simply means if I don’t do something tangible (in accordance) with my “faith” it is useless – possibly even non-existent.
Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
Example: Let’s say I want to cross a river. I see a bridge. The bridge appears to be in good order and (amazingly enough) has a seal on it that it just passed inspection. After inspecting the bridge and reading the documentation, I decide that I believe the bridge is able to support my weight and deliver me safely to the other side – this is faith. However, I choose to swim across just incase – this is faith without works. It is not worth the time or the breath it takes to say “I believe this bridge is able to do what it says it will do” if you are unwilling to even take a step on it.
To quote Martin Luther King Jr.:
“Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”
Faith is not what we say, but what we do, and, ultimately, who we are.