“This is the way to have eternal life – to know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the One You sent to earth.” (from Jesus’ prayer, John 17:3 NLT)
Yesterday, we ended up talking about what it means to believe. I felt it important to follow up on that subject today…
We have been talking about repentance. How it is necessary for a true faith. We have seen that repentance is changing HOW we think – aligning our thinking with what God thinks. God has made it possible to do just that! Thinking as God thinks is a vital part of the Christian life – made possible through the “new you,” that He has graciously provided.
Absolutely essential to that new way of thinking (or mindset) is believing.
But what does it really mean to believe?
Over the next few days, we will turn our thoughts to understanding what God means when He talks about believing…
1) True belief is in a Person. Somehow, we have allowed ourselves to think that just because we recognize the facts about Jesus, then, we believe in Him. But knowing about a person is not the same as knowing the person.
For example, I might know all the facts about the President, but may have never met him – or held a single conversation with him. I might even be an expert on the Presisent, but might not know him, at all, personally. To know about is not the same as to know.
When it comes to believing in Jesus, God is not asking us to know, or accept, the facts about Him (that He came to this earth, that He died on a cross, that He was raised from the dead – all to deal with our sins). These facts are all true, but God is asking us to come to the Person behind those facts. That is the invitation – to come and know Jesus – the One Who came and died for our sins.
Once more , for emphasis… Just because we recognize the facts about our Savior, does not mean that we believe in Him. Knowing Bible facts is NOT true belief.
What is worse, this is the kind of thinking that misleads us into the conclusion that we are “okay” with God – when we are not! True belief in Jesus is centered in a real relationship with a real Person – Who is The eternal Son of God. A real relationship with a real God changes HOW we think about life – and how we act, and react, to the events of our lives.
How important is knowing Jesus personally?
If you ask the apostle Paul, you get this response… “I count all things as loss compared to the surpassing excellence of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for Whom I have lost all things. ” (Phil. 3:8)
True belief is not based on some empty promise – or some valueless ideal. True belief is based upon gaining the surpassing value of knowing Jesus, personally. Of having Him, not only in our daily lives, but having Him investing His infinite love and resources in us.
The number one barrier to a true belief in Jesus is the dread thought of what we might have to give up in the process.
The apostle reminds us that there are some things that are worth losing all that we have. Really just one thing – that is, to know Jesus, personally.
This is why our thinking must be changed. Until we see Jesus as worth everything, we will not fully believe in Him. As long as we think Jesus “is on the take,” we will never experience the fullness of all He has to give…
Prayer focus: God, help me to see the value of knowing Jesus as my Lord, Savior and Friend!