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.
But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!
-James 2:14-19 (ESV)
As followers of Christ, we are expected to lead lives of self-examination, aided by the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I think I have it all together as I wind through life– embracing [what maybe] some sort of “easy-believism” that is to be seriously shunned by any who call themselves disciples of our Lord.
Recently, I caught a preacher on the Roku box who was teaching on the book of James and talked about the disturbing trend of “easy-believism” that seems to be almost pervasive amongst our Christian culture these days (at least in the U.S.). I found it challenging and somewhat disturbing. Do I really care about my fellow men and women and where they will spend eternity? Do I act like I believe?
I think it is possible to have religious experiences, but not be born again. I also think it is possible to believe in the existence of God and His Son Jesus Christ, but not be saved. After all, Satan and his evil minions believe in His existence. I am pretty sure I had some religious experiences in my life early on that I may have regarded as times of conversion that were simply times of succumbing to the “religious fervor” of the moment.
So the question remains: do I just believe or do I also follow? I pray that I am challenged each day to give the right answer to our Lord.