“I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and I accept Him as my Lord and Savior.” This is a statement that many of us have made when we invited Christ to be Lord of our lives. It’s based from the confession of Peter when Jesus asked, “Who do you say I am?” At this point in our spiritual lives, we are publicly confessing that we are believers. By stating that we believe, we are acknowledging that God exists. We are trying to change our lives and doing what God asks of us, but let’s face it, we’re still new at this.
This belief is different than that of others. Some believe there is a God, but don’t have faith in Him. James states, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” (James 2:19). His point in this verse is to emphasize what he stated in the verse before. Our belief is shown by our faith. As we grow, our lives change. Or, at least they should. Our faith in Christ should grow and be evidenced by our actions.
Paul writes about this in Romans, as he explains how our salvation is through the justification we receive from our belief and the faith that we have in Christ. This justification is a gift from God. We can never be good enough to save ourselves, nor is there a way in which we can earn it. If you look at all of the religions in the world, no other offers eternal life simply on the basis of faith. Others have the stipulation of earning your way through good works.
So, does that mean we can go on with our lives as we see fit, doing whatever we want, whenever we want? Paul asked a similar question in Romans 6:1. “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” His answer in the next verse tells it all. “By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:2). Christ paid the ultimate price for our salvation, so why would we want to disgrace this gift?
We should instead, want to show our love and appreciation through sanctification, the living out of our faith in Christ. As we grow in our faith, we find the desire to show God how much we love Him. If you are married, you may understand this better.
If you look at how you live your life today compared to how you lived before you were married, you probably noticed that your life has changed. Many of these changes have been made in order to please your spouse. You do it because you love him or her, and want to make them happy. It is a sort of gift. A gift that comes from your heart, and one that they know may be difficult for you to do. They see your efforts and appreciate what you do.
Our relationship with God should take on these same efforts. We may want to do the things of old, the things that focused on us, but we also know that these aren’t pleasing to the Lord. We want to please Him, to show our appreciation for what He has done for us. For that reason, our actions begin to change. We find ourselves serving others, showing compassion to those in need. What’s interesting about this is that God has designed us in such a way that we, too, find pleasure in doing these things. These actions cause our relationship with God to grow, and to become a bond of love, just as we see in our marriages.
Take a look at your relationship with God. If it needs work, begin by taking actions that will please Him. Be sure to do it out of love and obedience. This will please Him more than any sacrifice you will ever make.