"Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do." James 2:18
Conviction or opinion?
Faith is conviction and whatever someone is convinced of he will reveal with his life - his thoughts, his attitudes, his speech, and his behaviour. Our lives reveal what we believe and are convinced of. The person who believes that prayer is "powerful and effective" (James 5:16), for example, will be a person of prayer. Our true convictions are always audible and visible! The spirit of faith speaks (2 Cor. 4:13)! Conviction without action is opinion. Our outward lives demonstrate what is truly inside our hearts. That is why John says,
"If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen." 1 John 4:20
1 John was written to help believers know whether they truly believe. John writes,
"I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life." 1 John 5:13
Evidence of our faith.
What things does John write about that demonstrate that we believe? If we truly believe and are convinced that we are in Christ,
- We will walk in the Light. 1 John 1:7
- We will acknowledge our sin. 1 John 1:9,10
- We will obey God. 1 John 2:3,4; 3:24; 5:2,3
- We will walk as Jesus did. 1 John 2:6
- We will love the Church. 1 John 2:9,10; 3:10,11
- We will acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ. 1 John 2:22,23; 4:2,15
- We will receive spiritual revelation. 1 John 2:20,27; 5:20
- We will do what is right. 1 John 2:29; 3:7,10
- We will not continue to sin deliberately. 1 John 3:6,9; 5:18
- We will lay down our lives for one another. 1 John 3:14-16
- We will have pity on the needy. 1 John 3:17
- We will love with actions. 1 John 3:18
- We will know by the Spirit that we belong to God. 1 John 3.24
- We will overcome the spirit of the world. 1 John 4.4,5; 5:4,5
- We will love. 1 John 4:7-21
- We will have a testimony in our hearts. 1 John 5:9-12
Our actions and words demonstrate what we truly believe, especially when no one is looking!
What do you really believe?
It is both challenging and helpful to look at one's life to see what one is truly convinced of. For example, what does your daily routine tell you about what you believe concerning,
Prayer, Worship, Giving, Loving others, The lost, etc.
I believe God is calling His people to true faith - faith in Him and in His Word. Sadly many believers say they believe in God and in His Word but they demonstrate by their words and actions that they don't actually trust in Him or in His Word. Many demonstrate that they trust more in man, in formulas, in their demonstration of "faith", in the natural (superstition), etc. than in God.
Growing in Faith.
If we find that we aren't really convinced and don't really carry the convictions we should, I want to encourage you to spend time with God in prayer and in His Word so that you will grow in your knowledge of Him. Our convictions cannot be mustered up but will only develop as we look at Jesus. The writer to the Hebrews says,
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith." Hebrews 12:2
In other words, the more you look at Jesus and get to know Him, the more He will convince you of His nature and power and the truth of His Word. As you look to God, He will build convictions in your life and make them stronger so that you will stand firm in your faith and your life will demonstrate your true convictions - the fruit of your faith.