In our society, we often define people by what they believe.  Followers of Judaism believe that there is only one God.  Muslims also believe there is only one god (Allah) and that Muhammad was his messenger.  Christians believe in the same God as Judaism, but acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah.  Athiests believe there is no god or higher power.  Agnostics believe there is a higher power, but they do not acknowledge any one in particular.  There are also many religions that believe in multiple gods (polytheism). 

However, if you are a Christian, do you think that is an accurate definition of who you are?  Do you think that knowing God exists and that Jesus is the Christ is what puts you in a relationship with God?  Does professing this truth do the trick?  Or is there something more to it?  According the book of James, what you believe does not define your relationship with God.

What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?  Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing,  and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?

So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”

You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.  How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless? (James 2:14-20 NLT)

Believe what you want.  But unless you live out your faith, it means nothing.  I can say that I believe in God or that I love Jesus all day, but if my actions and attitude don’t reflect that, then am I actually any better than a demon?

How about you?  Do you consider yourself a Christian because of what you believe?  Or do your actions reflect those of someone trying their best to imitate Christ?  Do you often wish people well and hope their needs are met?  Or are you producing quality fruit that comes from the Spirit?  Does your relationship with Christ mostly consist of what you know about Him?  Or has that relationship completely changed the way you live your life?

Considering James’ commentary on faith and good deeds, where do you stand?  Despite what you have always believed or been taught, are you indeed a Christian?  Or is your faith dead and useless?

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