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Believing – Week 21 / May 18th
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
“Whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory…” 1 Peter 1:7-8
Believing is knowing that certain facts are true even though they cannot be verified by sight, touch, taste or smell. Jesus recognized this truth when He said, “Blessed are they who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29) The truth then is that the reality of Christ’s existence is brought to us by the unseen power and presence of the Holy Spirit. Again, the Holy Spirit moves and works in unseen ways just like the wind and yet His impact is real and vital and indeed crucial. (John 3:5-8) Crucial because, if we have tender hearts that are open to Him He will lead us to Jesus and show us what He is like. All of this takes place in an unseen way and yet for those who have been impacted by it, it is more real than the visible world around us. Believing is then a gift of God and we should treasure it and if we feel challenged by it we can always cry out, “Lord help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)
Once it impacts our lives it has a certain quality. That is, believing from a biblical perspective does not mean that one gives intellectual ascent to certain truths. No, believing means placing your life into the care of another. It holds the idea of dedication and commitment and this means that the one who believes is totally dedicated and committed to Christ. He places himself into Christ! The result is a dramatic regeneration of his life that imparts to him eternal life and a thirst for more and more of God. Jesus also reminds us of this when He cried out on the great day of the Feast of Tabernacles, ” If any man thirsts let Him come to me and drink and out of his innermost being will flow rivers of living water,” (John 7:37) This constitutes a dramatic encounter with God but then John qualifies it by saying, “But this He spoke of the Holy Spirit who those who have believed would receive.” (John 7:39)
Believing then is Holy Spirit initiated but then it is defined for us by the pages of scripture. That is, the Holy Spirit leads us to the scriptures and we have a deep knowing that they are inerrant and true. (2 Timothy 3:16) Many parts of it we struggle at first to understand but we nevertheless know that it is true and worth believing in. This in a way defies logic but it certainly is the pathway of belief. Clarity comes with the passing of time and so we enter into a life of believing God. This is well pleasing to Him and nourishing to the person trained by it.
Paul said, “We believe therefore we speak.” (2 Corinthians 4:13) So believing is so convincing to the heart that it drives us to speak out about what we know to be true. This is not to say that we kiss our brains goodbye when we determine to follow the unseen. No, it means that more than ever we employ our minds in the great adventure of knowing God’s truth and sharing it with others. Those who believe, as I have pointed out, discover that the Bible is their guide and text book for life. Jesus declared that it was true (John 17:17) and the means by which our minds and lives would be purified and Paul states that the Word of God washes our minds making belief more powerful. (Ephesians 5:25-27)
If we stop believing God by His Spirit and Word we stifle our capacity to know God and we shall descend into cynicism and neglect. We become more critical of all things in the Church than a catalyst for good and if we are not careful a “root of bitterness” grips our lives and infects others. (Hebrews 12:14-17) We must thank God every day that we are a people who believe Him and therefore trust him fully because outside of the Kingdom of God will be the cowardly and unbelieving. (Revelation 21:8)
©Malcolm Hedding Ministries