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TO CHEW ON: "You believe that there is one God.You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!" James 2:19
When James states "Even the demons believe…" he is implying different types or levels of belief. One is a level even demons have achieved.
To understand what the demonic level of belief consists of, let's take a look at some of the times demons interact with Jesus and other people. These interactions show that demons:
1. Acknowledge Jesus as God, calling Him the "Son of God" (Matthew 8:29; Luke 4:41; Mark 3:11), the "Holy One of God" (Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34), and "Son of the Most High God" (Mark 5:7).
2. Want nothing to do with Him (Matthew 8:29; Mark 1:24; Mark 5:7; Luke 4:34).
3. Know their destiny, referring to it as "torment" (Matthew 8:29; Luke 8:28) and "destruction" (Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34).
4. Fall down before Him (Mark 3:11) and are at His mercy (Mark 5:10).
5. Must obey Jesus in giving their names (Mark 5:9), becoming silent (Luke 4:35, 41), and leaving people (Mark 1:25,26; Luke 4:35; Mark 5:8,10-13), though they almost always argue (Mark 6:10-13) or have some sort of hissy fit before they obey (Mark 1:25-27; Luke 4:35).
6. Can discern between Jesus' true followers and imposters (Acts 16:17; 19:16). They obey His true followers but resist those who aren't (Acts 19:16).
In our passage James uses demonic belief as an example of incomplete or inadequate faith that we too could have. It might acknowledge who Jesus is but want nothing to do with His life-changing power. It is not saving faith in that it doesn't change one's life or destiny. And the proof is in the fruit (bad fruit; lack of good fruit) of one's life.
Perhaps there are aspects of that level of incomplete faith in our own lives. Yes, we admit that Jesus is the Son of God, but we haven't made Him Lord of our lives. We really don't want that much to do with Him. When we do obey, it's with a big fuss.
Let's press in to take our faith to the higher level of acknowledging who Jesus is not only with our heads but with our lives. Let's spend time with Him. Let's make Him our Lord before whom we live our lives in joyful obedience.
PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to put my complete trust in You, proving my faith by the way I live. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.