Believe it or not, my church keeps letting me talk in Big Church. Here's part of what I had to say.
He didn't seem impressed that I was a believer in God. He said as much, believing in God is not the goal. He scoffed at the notion of belief in God having any merit. Satan believes in God. But we don't see very many people using Satan as a model for how to live.
Ah, Jimmy. You might already recognize some of my thoughts as reflecting those of James, the brother of Jesus. I have heralded the letter of James as one of my favorite books in the Bible. This is not because it is easy. It’s because James is forthright. He doesn’t mince words. He presents us with reality and then tells us to deal with it.
I can remember in college, getting involved in a guy’s small group on my dorm floor. I mentioned my fondness for the book of James, so it didn’t take long for us to turn to James 1:26. I read out loud how anyone who considers himself religious, “yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue” is deceiving himself “and his religion is worthless.” Knowing my penchant for having a sharp tongue, I took a hard swallow and commented that I didn’t remember James being so convicting.
I believe James to be an equal-opportunity offender. Whatever your vice is, Jimmy has something to say about it. Let’s read some of what he has to say to us;
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.
It should give us pause to consider that a belief we state (I believe in God), often without thinking about it, is something that causes trembling in other beings that God created.