Many Christian groups or denominations place great emphasis on declaring your faith. That declaration invariably involves verbalizing it in some way, as in a personal testimony or some act of personal evangelism. Many see simply invoking the name of Jesus in public prayers and daily dialogues as an act of faith declaration. Thus, we witness some believers treating the name Jesus like a code word used to identify oneself as special and worthy of attention and respect. Oddly though, many faith declarations appear to draw notice to the declarer and not to the one who supposedly engenders faith. In other words, many of these purported acts of reverence for Jesus seem a bit too self serving to be spiritually motivated.
Verses like Mark 8:38 are often used to suggest that Christians need to be bold in declaring their allegiance to Jesus. From this background of teaching we see the basis for all the prevalent emphasis by many professed believers for speaking out about their religious beliefs. To outsiders these faith declarations may appear ostentatious and condescending, but to the Christian they are seen as an obligation.
However, my question to my self and others would be this: What most honors Jesus, my words and declarations about him or the extent to which I attempt to mold my behavior to his instructions? If I find his emphasis on humility, peacefulness, non-violence, and self sacrifice unmanly, unpatriotic, and impractical, can I still claim a faith in Jesus. Can all the words in the world ever make up for my forsaking his clear life instructions? Can the church's doctrines or their attempt to limit the message of Jesus make my faith in Jesus real?
A lot more folks, me included, talk about Jesus a great deal better than they mimic him. That's probably inevitable, so we need only recognize that we are still a spiritual work in progress. What is not so inevitable is the propensity of some to exalt themselves, using Jesus as their claim to fame, fortune, and personal ambition.
If anyone simply lives their faith without special attempts to draw attention to themselves as somehow privileged and noteworthy, then they seemingly align with the undefiled faith commended by James. Living in an unimposing, Christ like manner is the truest declaration of faith.