Monday, March 3, 2008

Believe

“Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” John 6:29 NIV

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” “Believe in God, believe also in me.” “He who believes has everlasting life.” Belief is obviously a very important thing when it comes to Jesus but what exactly did he and the New Testament writers mean when they used that word? Is it mental assent? Is the work of God to give mental assent to the notion that Jesus died to save us from our sins and/or to the idea that Jesus is God? I fear that many think this way to their peril, agreeing with these truths and then going on to live unchanged lives.

I like what Oswald Chambers has to say about belief. “With our Lord to believe means to commit. ‘Commit yourself to me,’ and it takes a man [or woman] all he is worth to believe in Jesus Christ.” “…whatever happens we will hang in to the fact that he is true.” We believe “not about him, but in him.” “Every…wrong-doing in spiritual life begins when we cease believing in Jesus Christ.” “…if we believe in Him, no matter how dark the passage is we shall be carried right through and when the crisis is passed our souls will have been built up into a stronger attitude towards Him.” “He shifts the centre of our confidence” from ourselves and other people to God. “…we stake our all on Jesus Christ’s honour.” “…to be a believer in Jesus Christ is to have an irrepressible belief and a life of uncrushable gaiety.” “To be a believer in Jesus Christ means we are committed to his way of looking at everything.” “The great lodestar of our life is—‘I believe in Jesus Christ, and in everything on which I form an opinion I make room for him and find out his attitude.” “…don’t worry about anything but your relationship to [Jesus].” “Many know a good deal about salvation, but not much about this intense patience of ‘hanging in’ in perfect certainty to the fact that what Jesus Christ says is true.”*

Commitment. Jesus himself is true. The centre of our confidence shifts. Uncrushable gaiety. Commited to his way of looking at everything. A focus on relationship with Jesus. Intense patience. Do these describe my belief in Jesus? Do they describe yours?

Jesus, I want my belief in you to be more than mental assent that you are who you say you are. I want to live my life in a way that depends on you being who you say you are and that would fall apart if you’re not. I choose to centre my confidence on you and no one or nothing else. I want my thoughts to be your thoughts, to wait patiently in the darkness that often surrounds me, knowing that you are in control and to be totally committed to you and your ways regardless of the cost. Lord, please give me uncrushable gaiety because you are who you are and nothing will change that.


*All quotes taken from “The Great Life” in “Facing Reality” in The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers pages 37, 38.

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