Reading through the book of James is something that every Christian should do more than once. It's such a fantastic "kick you in the butt" reminder of how we should be acting as a Christ followers.
There are so many people who walk around professing to be believers and yet when you really examine their lives, it doesn't even come close to looking like it.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; leave Me, you who practice lawlessness.’
When you are a believer, your life should reflect that. Please don't mistake that for needing to be perfect. That's not what it means at all! It simply means that you should be different. You can't live for this world and live for God. I fear those that try to do that are in trouble...
Jesus clearly states that not everyone who calls upon His name will enter the Kingdom of God.
Why? Isn't salvation for everyone?
Yes. Please don't think that your salvation can come from anyone or anything except Jesus Christ!
But Jesus doesn't want half of your heart. He wants ALL of your heart. How then do you give Him all of your heart? By turning from the ways of the world and submitting yourself fully to God.
This is where you start to see your heart change. You start to have a desire to live your life a different way. No longer are you feeling a pull towards things of this world but you start to feel a pull towards righteousness; towards Jesus!
The book of James reminds us that our belief will only get us so far. Think of it as step one. He so boldly claims that your belief is useless without works. What? I thought the only thing we had to do was believe and we were saved? Not so.
He even goes so far as to remind us that even the devil believes in God. Will that belief from Satan get him into heaven? That question is an easy one - of course it won't. Some of the most powerful people in the world acknowledge God and yet don't live for Him. They haven't submitted themselves fully or given all of their heart. They still live for the world.
In the book of Genesis, the devil didn't deny God's existence to Eve. The opposite actually; he fully acknowledged who God was and used that to cast doubt in Eve's heart.
Now the serpent was more cunning than any animal of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God really said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” The serpent said to the woman, “You certainly will not die! For God knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will become like God, knowing good and evil.”
Even the devil knows what God is capable of! That's his favorite game to play; he absolutely loves when he can cause us to think we can do it on our own or that all we have to do is say words and we're saved or in Eve's case - to stop putting our trust in God but in ourselves or the world.
Don't forget that the devil is a liar.
If I say I love my husband but don't put forth any effort or any work into my marriage, does it look like I love him? The feeling of love should inspire action. It's the same when it comes to our belief and faith in the Lord....
Believing in God should stir up the desire to do God's work and follow His commandments.
Don't just be someone who says "Lord Lord" but doesn't give their life fully to Jesus. Your belief is useless if that is how you live. Instead, give your whole heart to Jesus, follow His commandments and put your belief to work! That's the only time it counts.