What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:14-17Yes, so I believe in Jesus Christ and now I'm saved. Awesome. Done. Check that off my list. Right?
Well, if that's how you want to live your life then the book of James is especially for you. The author James (who was the step-brother to Jesus) was writing to a group of people who felt that belief was enough in order to be a Christian and neglected the call to action that Jesus preached about.
Jesus preached about how many would even call Him "Lord" but not enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt 7:21) as well as preaching about how faith without works is dead. Jesus says that being a Christian is not going to be easy and that a person with true saving faith is desires to do good saving works - regardless of consequences.
Let me put this in terms we can all relate to. I have a husband and wonderful children who I love so much. My love for them is so great that I desire to do things for them. That's how it is with Jesus. I love Him so much I desire to do His good works.
And our motivation for doing good works must always come into question as well. We don't do good things for others because we want recognition or something in return (we don't want to be a Pharisee). Our works must be totally out of the love we have for the Father.
Kicking an addiction will never work if we are doing it for our kids. Giving up watching porn because we think it will save our marriage will not work. Not drinking isn't going to be sustainable if we believe it will make our relationships better. Yes, those are great reasons, BUT they can't be the primary reason for sobriety. You make the choice of sobriety and act upon them because of the love you have with the Father. Good consequences will happen because of that choice.