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  • Shawn Thornton

Beyond Belief

Monday - February 1st

Devotionals from the Book of James

Scripture to Read Today: James 2:14-26

You believe that there is one God. Good!

Even the demons believe that —and shudder.

James 2:19


"Oh, I believe in Jesus. I definitely believe." The golfer in the cart with me told me this when I told him what I did for a living. As soon as he heard the word "pastor," he interrupted me before I could even tell him the name of the church where I served. He had to let me know that he definitely believed in Jesus. Mike then immediately listed the characteristics of Christ and His ministry that he loved the most.


A friend had invited me to golf with him and two of his golfing buddies that day. I didn't know either of the other guys. One of them rode in the cart with me and the other with my friend. My cart companion was Mike. I never got his last name.


Mike talked a lot about the Bible and Jesus as we moved about the golf course. He talked a good talk. I began to notice that he spoke with a high level of vagueness. As we talked about other topics, Mike mentioned times he cheated on his wife, lost his cool and cussed out employees, and even how he did some underhanded things with his taxes. After he referenced these things, he would say, "Sorry, I know that bothers a preacher like you."


Based on the behavior he talked about and the behavior he demonstrated during our morning of golf, I began to question whether he really knew Jesus as Savior. I asked Mike a few simple questions. My doubts about his salvation grew. At one point, the conversation had evolved to a place I could probe a little further.


When I got a little more specific about saving faith and belief, he said that he only believed that Jesus actually lived (as opposed to those who think Jesus is not a historical person). He was clear that he did not believe the claims of Christ to be God, to be sent as our Savior, or that Jesus rose from the dead.


Things he unrepentantly talked about made more sense to me. The Lord opened the door for me to share the Gospel with Mike as we finished holes 17 and 18. He did not accept Christ as his Savior that day, but he listened and considered what I shared.


Driving home, I thought about James 2:19. Even the demons believe and understand who Jesus is, but they are not saved. They so vividly believe and know the truth of Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords that they shudder at the thought. They know it means their defeat.


Believing the truth about Christ is one thing. Even the demons have that kind of belief. We must go beyond belief in the idea of Jesus. Trusting Jesus as your Savior and Lord is something else. It is placing your faith and trust in who He is and what He has done for your salvation.


If you have trusted Jesus as your Savior, thank Him for His death, burial, and resurrection for you.


If you have not trusted Jesus, do so today. Don't just believe the facts about Christ Jesus. Rest your eternal destiny and life in Him and his finished work on the cross for you.


Just believing about Jesus is not saving faith. Even the demons believe the truth about Jesus - and shudder!

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