On vacation in Colorado, visiting Diane’s sister and family. I’m reading Andy Stanley’s new book, Deep and Wide, and he mentions another pastor on his staff who preached a sermon based on this question: “Do you believe in God, or do you believe God?”
I like that.
A lot of people believe in God, but have never given a second thought to believing God. What’s the difference?
Well, I didn’t hear the sermon referenced, but this is my take on it – anyone can believe in God, but only someone who really knows Him can believe Him. More than that – if I asked you to believe me, what would I be asking? Wouldn’t I be asking you to believe that something I said was true?
Think of the different scenarios someone might ask another to…believe them:
“Honey, believe me, I just gave my secretary a ride home. That’s all.”
“No, Mom, there won’t be any alcohol at the party.”
“I’ll pay you back…”
“Yes sir, I will have your daughter home by midnight.”
When you believe a person, you trust her, and if you don’t believe her, you demonstrate that you don’t trust her. That might be okay. She may not be worthy of your trust. Or, conversely, she may be very worthy of your trust, but you still, for whatever mistaken reason, don’t trust her.
Now here’s where the rubber meets the road: many people call themselves Christians but don’t believe God’s word. Or they think it’s got mistakes or problems. Or maybe they don’t even know what is in it. So they don’t know what to trust.
But in order to be a Christian in the first place, you must believe God.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” John 5:24 (ESV)
So to be a Christian, you must believe Him Who sent Jesus. If you don’t believe Him, you are not a Christian. And more than that, to continue growing in Christ, you must believe all the other wonderful things He says in His word. And to do that, you have to know what the Bible says.
So it’s New Year’s Eve. I’m hoping that you have a desire to believe God this year. I sure do. The first step toward that is to know what He says. So…if you don’t have a plan to read the Bible or some portion of it this year, consider one of these Bible reading plans, and make it a year that you read God’s promises…and believe Him.
One more note: as those of you at Edgewood Community Church in Waupun know, Mike Giebink spoke on resetting your mind in 2013 this past weekend, and made a similar application to the one above. We offered Bible reading plans to pick up after the service, and a number of people grabbed one. If you’re interested, the one that generated the most interest was the 5x5x5 plan – five minutes a day, five days a week, and five ways to dig deeper…a great plan and not overly challenging if you’re just looking to get started somewhere in Bible reading.