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What's in a Name
by Joi James
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Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does. {James 1:22-25}

We have been feuding with the trash company for just about four months now. They pick up our trash weekly as scheduled without fail. So what's the problem, you ask? Well....we're up to our navels in recyclable items!! You see, recycling is top priority for me - it's my goal to have more recycling than trash. Though they manage to pick up our one measly bag of trash each week, the garbage company has left our recyclable materials curbside for months! I call just about every week and when I actually do get someone on the phone, they all say the same thing, "You're on the schedule for Fridays....a truck will definitely be there next week."

As a result of the unnamed and clearly incompetent company's failure, every spare plastic bin and every box that appears (regardless of size) has become a recycling receptacle in our house. There are piles of recyclables in our house, beside our house and in front of our house because I WILL NOT compromise by bagging up the items and trashing them as some have suggested. If a company represents themselves as collectors of trash and recyclable materials then accepts my money in a contract to perform that service, they should pick up my trash AND recyclables! What kind of garbage company doesn't pick up ALL of the garbage???

In my on-going frustration with this situation, the Holy Spirit pounced on me with conviction as I read through the book of James. These questions were impressed in my mind for quite some time.....

If a person represents themselves as a "Christian" and accepts My payment (on the Cross), shouldn't he/she live their life as I would? What kind of "Christian" doesn't walk in ALL My ways? That IS what they are called to do!

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. {James 2:10}

I don't know about you, but I have witnessed a countless number of people, including myself at times, who described themselves as Christian but didn't live a life to match. According to www.adherents.com, 16% of the world said they are "non-religious"/atheist/agnostic while 33% of the world's population or 2.1 billion people "claimed" to be Christians in 2007. Wikipedia says in 2008, 76% of the U.S. population checked Christian on the religion survey!


I think most people think being a Christian is simply professing a belief in God and/or showing up on Christmas, Easter and other special events (ya know, the CEOs!!).

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. {James 2:19}

So looking at those statistics in comparison with the world as it is, it would seem, as true Christ-followers, our focus must first be on the "churched" rather than the "un-churched." THE TRUTH must be taught unapologetically in our churches and we must live THE TRUTH unashamedly in our daily lives. And the Truth is NO amount of "religion" or talk is going to get you or I to Heaven. In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." {John 3:3} We must not only accept Christ's payment, but also do our part by following CLOSELY behind Him in EVERY aspect of our lives. We MUST have a relationship with Jesus Christ! We are not TRULY born again if our hearts, minds AND lives do not reflect the change He requires. We can say with our mouths we're garbage men all day long, but if we're not picking up the trash, what good is our claim? Who would believe us? Who would want to join us? .....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? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. {James 2:21-24}

Perhaps we ALL should reflect on our positions...do you claim Christ...or do you follow Christ? As for me, I'll be following Jesus...ALL THE WAY TO HEAVEN! And I pray people will know what I am and who I follow...even if I never say a word.

"I am the way, the truth, and the life!" Jesus answered. "Without me, no one can go to the Father. {John 14:6 CEV}

If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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