FAITH: Strengthening your belief while living in the light of Christ
‘And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” ‘ John 3:14-21 ESV
There are numerous statements and quotes concerning belief and what people can be convinced to believe. Some of them are, “People will believe anything if you sat it with confidence.” Another one would, “People will believe anything they want or hope to be true.” Also, “People will believe anything about a person if it is negative but will usually doubt it if it is positive!” My favorite, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life!”
I am literally dumbfounded by the plethora of incorrect information being propagated in our world, but I am even more flabbergasted at how easy it is to get so many people to believe without question. Lies have always filled our world, but our technology and social media age allow for lies to be manufactured and distributed more efficiently than ever in history. Truth is rare and when you find it, you need to hold on to it for dear life. That is why I am so completely consumed with the Word of God and the truth we find there. This passage from John gives us amazing truth and it also shows us how to integrate the truth into transformation for life.
Obviously, John 3:16 is one of the most well known and well-remembered verses in the entire Bible. This amazing reality is the summation of the Gospel of Jesus and the most basic explanation of salvation we can find. The key, believing! The definition I work from for belief is, accepting something as true and feel sure of the truth, while having faith, confidence, and trust! Friends, I have all of those when it comes to my belief in Jesus as the only Son of God, the only way to God, and the only path for Salvation!
So why do so many people struggle to believe or refuse to believe in Jesus? Part of this comes from what Jesus says in our passage. People love darkness, for those who do wickedness love the dark and do their wickedness in the dark, but Jesus, who is the Light, exposes the darkness by shining His light of salvation. In my opinion, most people who struggle to believe in Jesus, do so because they do not want to walk in the light where their deeds are exposed. Not believing in Jesus, or refusing to believe in God at all, somehow gives people an out, and in their mind allows them to continue in sin without conviction. The question is, “Do you BELIEVE?”
As we get closer to Easter, I encourage each of us to strengthen our belief as well as live in the light of Christ so the Glory of God can be seen in us. I cannot help but think the greatest light ever seen on earth was the light of the glorious, resurrected Jesus as He came from the tomb. As He came from death to life, from dark to light! Believing in Him as the savior will do the same for you! You just have to believe. I want to encourage each one reading to do something this week to promote truth. Send a note or a card to someone this week, and in the note, share John 3:16! They will appreciate the reminder! You are Valued and Loved! Pastor Brad
Rev. Brad McKenzie is Lead Pastor at Orange First Church of the Nazarene, 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Orange.