How to have a real faith?
1. REAL FAITH IS NOT JUST SOMETHING YOU SAY
James 2:14 "What good is it my brother if a man claims to have faith, but has no deeds? Can such `faith' save him?"
There are a lot of people who claim to be Christians. It's more than just talk that is involved in real faith. Talk is cheap. James is saying that real faith is not just something you say. Do you know anybody that claims to be a Christian but you don't see any evidence in their life? That's a phony faith.
2. REAL FAITH IS NOT JUST SOMETHING YOU FEEL
James 2:15 "Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him `Go, I wish you well fed,' but does nothing about his physical needs,what good is it?"
Real faith is more than just sympathy and feeling and emotion. You do something about it. You act on it. Real faith takes the initiative. When you become a part of God's family you have some family responsibilities. A real believer will care about other believers.
1 John 3:17 "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?" . Real faith is generous. It wants to give. I can't meet everybody's needs but I can meet somebody's.
3. REAL FAITH IS NOT JUST SOMETHING YOU THINK
James 2:18 "Someone will say `You have faith, I have deeds'"
James is stating about some intellectual guy who says, "You're into faith, I'm into works. You've got your thing, I've got mine. To each his own way. Stimulate me mentally but don't ask me to make any commitment."
James 2:18 "Show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith by what I do." Circle "show me". Real faith is visible. You can see it. It's apparent. If you claim to be a Christian, people will be able to see it. You can prove it. 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Any time a person becomes a Christian he becomes a new person inside, the old things have passed away. All things become new." Not overnight. But they start becoming new.
4. REAL FAITH IS NOT JUST SOMETHING YOU BELIEVE
James 2:19 "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that -- and shudder!"
There are a lot of people who have strong beliefs in God, the Bible, about Christ. James says, "big deal!" Just saying I believe in God is not enough to get you to heaven because to believe is more than just a head knowledge. Even the devil believes that.
5. REAL FAITH IS SOMETHING YOU DO
James 2:20 "You foolish men. Do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar. His faith and his actions were working together. His faith was made complete by what he DID. Scripture was fulfilled when it said, `Abraham believed God.'"
You know the story. It's the ultimate test where God asked Abraham to give up his own son. This has nothing to do with salvation by works. Abraham was already a believer. Twenty-five years earlier God had said, “You're righteous – Gen 15:6.” He's not talking about being saved by his works. He’s saying, that this just shows how much you believe. Abraham obeyed God. It was immediate. He followed Him. He took his son up. He did all those faith steps. He cut the wood, built the altar and was ready to sacrifice his own son. Abraham was about to sacrifice him and God says, “I was just testing you to see what's most important in your life.” It was an action. His works proved his faith. He held nothing back from God.
Our faith is not determined by what we do, it is demonstrated by what we do.
In a very real sense that's what God says to you. Talk is cheap. Put your money where your mouth is. "I believe in Jesus!" Prove it. Since you have Christ in you, He will come out in your speech, conduct and actions. Our faith is demonstrated by our actions. Actions speak louder than words. Our behavior shows what we really believe. 2 Corinthians 13:5 "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith." Test. Check it out. See if you're really a believer or not.