Belief in Jesus must be more than acknowledgment


I hope you had a pleasant national birthday party, perhaps with family and friends over a delicious barbeque cookout, playing games, lighting fireworks, and enjoying wonderful fellowship.

Those activities have always been a major part of our Independence Day celebration tradition. Hopefully, you also took some time to pray for our country, that God’s grace, mercy, and blessing would continue to rest on this exceptional nation.

It can be so easy to forget that our freedoms and prosperity are gifts, perhaps even investments, endowed to us by God Almighty. Unfortunately, too many of our citizens have come to take these blessings for granted, perhaps have even abused them. Acquiring wealth, glory, and power have been major motivations in every civilization and location. America is no exception.

Greed and its close friend, Envy, will blind and deceive anyone who is not keeping watch over their heart and mind. Jesus said that it is impossible to serve two masters. (Luke 16:13-15). He was referring specifically to money, but adds this powerful tidbit, “what is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.” Wow! That should cause us all to do some serious soul searching.

What do we American Christians highly value? Are they the things that we long to consume for our own comfort and security? Is being materially successful in this dark world more important than being faithful to our calling in Christ Jesus? Is He truly Lord of our lives, or is He just our backup when all else fails us?

It is just so easy to lapse into a doubleminded lifestyle that perhaps exposes what might have become our lukewarm love for Jesus. Our deeds, however, are the ultimate judge of our words. Jesus makes it clear that if we love Him, we must obey Him (John 14:15). Merely invoking His Name will not be enough to save us in the end (Matthew 7:21). Calling Him our “Lord” while doing as we please betrays our real motivations and exposes to the world our well-meaning hypocrisy.

Please do not misunderstand what I am trying to say. I do not judge nor condemn anybody. That is far beyond my pay-grade. I can only say what the Bible says and let the listeners draw their own conclusions and make their own choices about it. My sincere motive is to encourage everyone who calls Jesus their Lord to be the light of the Lord right where they live.

Believing in Him is much more than mere acknowledgement. It includes active participation in His earthly ministry of reconciliation, being an ambassador for His Kingdom and an extension of His life wherever we go and whatever we do. That’s a tall order for sure. He knows that we cannot do any of that with the mere energy of our own flesh. He promises that if we are serious about obeying Him, He will send us His Holy Spirit, empowering and guiding as we seek to do His will (John 14:16-17).

All of that said, unless the collective Church does a better job of discipling its converts to righteousness, the world will continue to disciple them to wickedness. Until mature Christians can say, and sincerely mean, “Not my will, but God’s,” and risk consequent persecution, they will continue to be jerked around by the powers and principalities that rule this dark world.

To the degree that Jesus Christ is obeyed is the degree to which peace and righteousness will reign. Bringing people to that understanding can be a difficult, long-term ministry. But when this happens there is an exponential increase of grace that powerfully impacts whole nations.

There always was and always will be tension between the Church and the state. Politics and religion, whether we like it or not, really do have a way of getting mixed together. Yet, when the government is righteous, influenced by strong Christian faith, the people prosper. When it is corrupt, everybody suffers. This is true everywhere and always. The challenge for believers is to influence their government, as well as its citizens, by living the Gospel message daily.

Unfortunately, where faith is weak it becomes infected by the sin surrounding it. Our current government and our social structures are increasingly demonstrating that sad fact. We, the Church, are challenged to be a light in the world, demonstrating the peace and harmony that can be enjoyed under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

We are both challenged and encouraged that these times of turmoil and confusion afford us a golden opportunity to present the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, in word and deed, as the only hope of the world. Help us, Holy Spirit!

On a personal note, I want to sincerely thank you for your faithful prayers and support. I continue to write biblical curriculum and teach as often as I can. I will be back in Mexico, at the IBI campus in Tuxtepec, team teaching “Basic Christian Discipleship” with a dear friend and fellow missionary. I am always blessed to be amid these kind and sincere students whose love for the Lord is so profoundly evident. Thank you, Mexico Outreach, for these wonderful opportunities.

Also, I am extremely excited that the inductive Bible curriculum that I developed many years ago in Kenya to train pastors and church leaders may, God willing, soon be translated into Mandarin (Chinese) and possibly even into Arabic. I trust that the funds needed to achieve this will be adequate to fulfill this wild dream I share with several others.

Now to him who can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen, and God bless you.

[LeRoy Curtis is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Asbury Theological Seminary. He served four years as a U.S. Naval Officer after which he became a pastor, Bible professor, educator, author, and missionary living in E. Africa for eight years where he and his wife developed a curriculum of biblical studies for untrained pastors in rural Kenya. His passion for training young church leaders takes him to various parts of the U.S., Latin America, and Africa. He and Judy are currently residing in Carrollton, Georgia.]


  1. Thank you for this, Rev. Curtis: “Unfortunately, where faith is weak it becomes infected by the sin surrounding it. Our current government and our social structures are increasingly demonstrating that sad fact. We, the Church, are challenged to be a light in the world, demonstrating the peace and harmony that can be enjoyed under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.”

    It’s hard to disagree with this when you see the way Red States are
    • demonizing (and trying to eradicate) transgender folk,
    • attempting to rollback human rights for our LGBTQiA brothers and sisters,
    • forcing women to become chattel by denying them control over their own bodies,
    • cutting benefits for people struggling in poverty,
    • allowing or encouraging sentencing inequity that lands POC in prison far more and for far longer than white folk,
    • ignoring (or even stoking) systemic racism so the underprivileged continue to suffer its ravages
    protecting business/profits at the expense of the ones Jesus called “the least of these.”

    And the list goes on! How Jesus must weep to see this kind of prejudice and even violence against the last, the lost, the least, the little — the ones that, in His earthly ministry, He favored and honored. I pray believers will recognize the evil in these sorts of laws and programs and oppose them, in Jesus’ name.