John 3:16-18 — For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (emphasis mine)
I’d like to start the New Year with believing & loving God more deeply. But what does it mean to “believe”?
This was a question posed to us one Sunday by @revtedng. All who claim to be Christian would say they “believe” in God to one degree or another. Or that they “believe” in the Bible to one degree to another. I certainly say I believe in God. I believe in His Word. I believe in His Son Jesus Christ.
But I’m seeing there’s a slight difference, that perhaps makes a world of difference, between “believing IN” God and actually “believing” Him. To believe someone is to agree what they’re saying is true. Else it’s false. There is no gradient inbetween. Believing God is giving credibility and authority to what He says. That not believing in His Son results in perishment and condemnation. And believing that He’s not trying to condemn the world as if disbelief results in condemnation…but that we’re already under destruction and condemnation as it is….and that God desires to save us from that through His Son. That to “believe” God is to truly believe He came to save us from condemnation.
An illustration was made using a patient who is sick. There is pain and illness in his body. The Doctor makes the diagnosis and recommends treatment…it’s not easy to go through, but it’ll cure him. The patient who believes the Doctor, believes there is pain and illness in his body, accepts the treatment and lives. The patient who doesn’t believe the Doctor will deny the pain and illness, “I’m fine!” he’ll say, refuse treatment and then the illness will take over and take his life.
I had to ask myself, do I live like I believe Him?
Or have I just intellectualized what “believing” means and pay Him lip service while depending on my own capabilities and strengths to take care of myself and try to live as a “good” person?
I’m reminded of what believing God looks like…and I know while my life shows I believe IN God, I’m not sure my life shows I believe Him at His Word. Often I live in self-reliance and independence from Him; my actions show I don’t really believe God will provide or come through. So I try to take care of things first, and then call out to God when things screw up and I need help. That needs to change….2013 will be my treatment and training ground.
How about you? Do you or will you believe? And how will your life show this?