Do you believe in Santa Claus? Of course not. But you kind of act like you do.
You've told your kids about Santa Claus. You've told stories about him. You've sang songs about him. You probably even left him cookies at one time or another.
But kids? They stay up late trying to catch sight of him. They write him letters. They change their behavior because he's watching. They believe in Santa Claus.
So do you believe in Jesus? Do you depend on the fact that Jesus is Lord of all and that he died for your sins and rose from the dead? Do you live like his rules matter?
Do you believe, or do you just act like you do?
Are you good to your family? Kind to your neighbor? Do you work hard? "Do not even pagans do that?"
What does belief look like? "By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice ... even though God had said to him, 'It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.' Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead" (Heb 11:17-19). Abraham acted on his belief.
Or take Rahab, who helped the spies and gave up her city because she believed what God has said — that the land was being given to Israel (Josh 2).
Belief is doing the hard stuff because you believe what God has said is true.
Is it true that Jesus said lust was sexual immorality? How has this affected your magazine subscriptions or movie tickets?
Is it true that "the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil"? How has this affected your attitude toward your job?
Are we to "lend" without expecting to be repaid and submit to one another out of reverence to Christ? How has this affected how you live your life?
If all of these things are true, and if we say, "Jesus is Lord," do we act like he is our Lord?
"You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that — and shudder." Don't "believe." Don't pretend the gospel is true. Act on it.
— James 2