"For God so loved the world [you and me] that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever [you and me] believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
What does it really mean to "believe" in Jesus? Is it simply an acknowledgment that He is Lord and Savior? Does it just pertain to eternal life-that sweet by-and-by? Or is it more comprehensive than that?
Jesus said that the work of God is for us to believe in the One He has sent (John 6:29). But what does it say of our belief when we
- ask for His forgiveness and then work for His favor and wonder if His grace is enough to cover all we've done?
- ask Him to take care of our burdens and then fret about them incessantly and wallow in insecurity?
- ask Him to intervene in our circumstances and then manipulate them ourselves in order to get a better outcome?
- ask that His kingdom come and then panic about current events and prophecies of the end times?
- ask that His will be done and then tell Him specifically what our will is and why He ought to accomplish it?
These are all inner contradictions we'll find in our faith from time to time. We say we believe in Jesus-not just for salvation, but all it entails-but we might do well to ask ourselves occasionally if we really do. For people who have been promised provision, protection, comfort, guidance, forgiveness, salvation, and more, we spend an awful lot of time concerned with just those things. If we say we believe, but act as if we don't, which is a truer reflection of our real beliefs? Words or the attitudes of our hearts?
Paul strongly warned the Corinthian believers: "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves" (2 Corinthians 13:5). It is good advice, no matter how long we've been Christians. Our human tendency is to walk by sight, not by faith. But genuine belief is God's only accepted currency. Check yours frequently.
"The issue of faith is not so much whether we believe in God, but whether we believe the God we believe in." R.C. Sproul
Tiegren, Chris. The One Year at HIS feet Devotional. Tyndale House Publishers: Carol Stream, IL. December 18. page 352.
May God bless you as you allow Jesus Christ to be your complete life this New Year.