My Sunday school class always makes me laugh. Favorite quote from this week? "Remember last week when you weren't here we talked about..." "Um no." However aside from being funny, it also never fails to challenge me.
We are currently plodding (this week we zoomed at warp speed through 3 verses) through James. In discussing faith vs. works, the passage compares faith with no works and faith only by works. Faith with no works and works alone are both lacking. They both have the same end result.
I generally put myself in the "faith with no works" category. I have PLENTY of head knowledge and can spew out more theology than many. However when confronted with works, I find myself not doing as much as I could. What I do do is not always driven by faith.
In the same way those actions and habits can make me feel good about myself. I start thinking about what I can do and how it makes me look rather than pointing to Christ. I start earning merit badges to become a legal scout.
James was written to Jews coming from a Pharisaical tradition. In an effort to separate themselves from their old life of checklists, they went to the other extreme and simply had faith alone.
Neither position is ideal, so where does the balance lie between the two?