“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! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?” – James 2:18-20 (ESV)
Even the demons believe in God. If I only profess to believe in God, that qualifies me to be a demon. The point is we can profess a lot of things , but how do those professions affect our thinking? Also, just because I say something doesn’t mean it’s true . I can say that I even believe in something but that still doesn’t make it true. Accordingly, just because I profess to have faith in Christ, that profession doesn’t necessarily correlate to reality. Anyone can profess to have faith in Christ but that does not mean they possess that faith. The difference is God’s work. We can not do anything to be saved, the regeneration of your heart is completely God’s doing . Do you say you have faith yet you find it a chore to do the things of God? Do you say you have faith but give your spiritual life nothing but a passing thought? So do you possess or simply profess? Let’s look at the test of if you possess or merely profess.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” – 1 John 4:7-11 (ESV)
John gives us a test to know whether or not we possess that faith. The test is love. Loving one another and loving God . This is not as simple as stated but if I truly wish to love others the way God loves us, then I know I have that faith. If our motivation is fear or pride or if we wish to get something in return, it’s not God’s love . The only way we can love this way is because God first loved us. We do not wake up and automatically do it . So then how? The answer is regeneration . God has to give us a new heart, we can’t just do it ourselves. “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. ” – Ezekiel 36:26 NLT. It is impossible to love like God and do the things of God without first God regenerating your old heart and giving you a new one. We can not do it on ourselves. If this is you, if you don’t care about doing the things of God and living a Christ-like life, I pray you will ask for a new heart. If you have received the new heart, ask God to strengthen you and give you a passion to continue doing the things He commands.
This summer, take an opportunity to know God, to not just profess but possess. Bible reading, accountability with a friend or leader, books, devotionals; feed the fire! People who profess sit back, mostly do what they want, and maybe do the spiritual bare minimum because they have to. People who possess get up, do what God wants, and dive deep into the spiritual life because they get to. Do you possess or merely profess?