NIV - James 1:22 - Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
NWT- James 1:22-25 - 22 However, become doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves with false reasoning. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word, and not a doer, this one is like a man looking at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself, and off he goes and immediately forgets what sort of man he is. 25 But he who peers into the perfect law that belongs to freedom and who persists in [it], this [man], because he has become, not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, will be happy in his doing [it].
JAMES 2:14-20 14 Of what benefit is it, my brothers, if a certain one says he has faith but he does not have works? That faith cannot save him, can it? 15 If a brother or a sister is in a naked state and lacking the food sufficient for the day, 16 yet a certain one of YOU says to them: "Go in peace, keep warm and well fed," but YOU do not give them the necessities for [their] body, of what benefit is it? 17 Thus, too, faith, if it does not have works, is dead in itself.
18 Nevertheless, a certain one will say: "You have faith, and I have works. Show me your faith apart from the works, and I shall show you my faith by my works." 19 You believe there is one God, do you? You are doing quite well. And yet the demons believe and shudder. 20 But do you care to know, O empty man, that faith apart from works is inactive?
NASB - James 2:20 - But are you willing to recognize,you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?
It's a powerful thing to understand that having faith means nothing if one doesn't have works to prove the faith he claims to have. As James 2:14 brings out (above), faith alone cannot save a person. In fact, it is 'dead', 'inactive' and 'useless'. This is imperative to understand, because so many people today feel that, because they have acknowledged Christ as their saviour, they are then 'saved'. There is a saying, "once saved, always saved"; the scriptures show here, in no uncertain terms, that that is not true. You must absolutely have works to prove your faith.
This next scripture is so powerful, it often shocks the person who first understands it:
MATT 7: 21-27 21 "Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. 22 Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ 23 And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness.
26 Furthermore, everyone hearing these sayings of mine and not doing them will be likened to a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. 27 And the rain poured down and the floods came and the winds blew and struck against that house and it caved in, and its collapse was great."
Jesus says very specifically here that there are people who will believe they are following Jesus, serving his Father; one's who even 'perform many powerful works' in his name. They have the appearance to those around them of being sincere worshipers. They are showing their works as far as they are concerned. But he will say to them, "I NEVER KNEW YOU! GET AWAY FROM ME, YOU WORKERS OF LAWLESSNESS." Imagine the shock of hearing that from someone one believes they are emulating. He's speaking of people who are misapplying scriptures, using false reasoning (and therefore teaching false things), and ignoring direct instruction from the bible under the cover of many excuses. And, he is speaking to those who allow themselves to be mislead into that same way of 'worship'. And yet those ones may sincerely believe they are doing the right things.
So we know that 'faith without works is dead', but we see that even those who feel they have 'works' to back up their faith have to be very careful to 'search out' their ways (Lamentations 3:40) to make absolutely sure, in every way, that they understand exactly what those 'works' are that God expects us to show. We must be vigilant for the truth, and not like those apostate Christians Paul spoke of to Timothy:
2Tim 4:3-5 3- For there will be a period of time when they will not put up with the healthful teaching, but, in accord with their own desires, they will accumulate teachers for themselves to have their ears tickled; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, whereas they will be turned aside to false stories. 5 You, though, keep your senses in all things, suffer evil, do [the] work of an evangelizer, fully accomplish your ministry.
We don't want to have 'our ears tickled' with teachings that allow us to justify worshiping God in some way that allows us to sooth our consciences.