You Better Believe!

Of course preacherman!  I know I must believe.  And I do believe.  I believe in Christ.  He is my Lord and Savior.  So, what are you talking about?!?

Well, let me explain.  We have all been to church and we have heard the preacher tell people that they must believe in Jesus.  They must put their faith in Him as their Lord and Savior in order that they might be saved.  And suddenly, after doing this, they receive the Holy Spirit and become Christians.  But…there is a little more to it than that 🙂

Hebrews 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
(NIV 1984)

It is not simply believing that there is a God or that God sent His Son to die on the cross for me.  There is a specific God.  He is unique with characteristics unlike any other.  I must not believe the generalities of the existence of God.  I must put my faith into the person of Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ, the compassionate High Priest, who is One with the Father, has made promises to you.  We cannot simply say that we believe that He has died for us and then choose not to believe the promises.  If I say that I trust my wife then when she says to me that she is going to do something, I trust her.  More than trust, I expect her to do it because I have put my trust in her.

So many believers, it seems to me, attempt to put their faith in Christ, but struggle with believing His promises.  How can I say that I trust the Lord if I have no expectation that the Lord will do what He says He will do.  That is no faith at all.  In Hebrews 11, what we call the ‘faith’ chapter, we learn that we can not come into the presence of the Lord unless we believe, not simply that He exists, but that He REWARDS those who EARNESTLY seek Him.  The Holy Spirit puts this into no uncertain terms.  You must believe!  If I don’t believe this, how can I say that I trust the Lord.  After all, going back to the Covenant of Abraham that now belongs to all believers, the Lord said this:

Genesis 12:2-3
“I will make you into a great nation
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you
(NIV 1984)

I don’t know about you, but it seems that God really wants to bless His children.  He wants to bless them so much that there is overflow to all the peoples of the earth that they might be blessed by the children of the Lord.  Do you believe that?

Of course, if we do not seek Him earnestly, it could only mean two things.  Either we do not really believe that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him, or we don’t really want to be blessed.  Maybe we don’t like blessings?   Yeah, maybe that’s it.  Maybe we enjoy pain, suffering, problems, evil winning, and total destruction.  Yeah, maybe that’s it. Ok, I am being very sarcastic.  My wife doesn’t like it when I am sarcastic like that.  No one wants those horrible things to characterize their life.  So what does this mean then?  Doesn’t it mean to too many of us do not really believe that God rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

We can say we believe it all day long, but unless we earnestly seek Him, we are not displaying faith, but doubt or disdain.  One of my favorite Scriptures is found in Proverbs:

Proverbs 4:18
The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,
shining ever brighter till the full light of day
(NIV 1984)

Sunrise

Wait a minute.  I know what you are doing.  You are thinking, “Well, that’s great, but I am not righteous.  I sin all of the time.”  Well before, you give up and go count worms, let’s talk about what it means to be righteous.  We are not righteous by our own actions.  All have fallen short of the glory of God.  We are only righteous because through the blood of Christ shed on the cross, we receive forgiveness by faith.  Our sins are thrown into the Sea of Forgetfulness, remembered no more.  Even on Judgement Day, we do not fear judgement, because all of our sin has been cast out.  Praise God!  We are forgiven.  Our sins have been washed away by the precious blood of the Lamb of God.  We are the righteousness of Christ.  And the path of the righteous continues to shine brighter even as the sun rises from early morning unto its highest point in the sky.

His forgiveness moves us.  Thankfulness manifests in us for what He did for us before we ever believed.  And in this thankfulness, we seek to please the Lord, don’t we?  Don’t you want to say thank you to the Lord?  If you never received another blessing in your life, isn’t having a place in Heaven reserved for you enough?

So how do we say thank you to the Lord for what He has done?  Faith.  Trust.  Assurance.  When we put our faith in Him, in His promises.  This honors Him as God.  This exalts Him as omnipotent, the All-in-all.  This sets Him high above anything of this world.  And, it pleases Him.

It is a decision.  It is a simple decision.  To believe in something, anything, requires only a decision in our mind.  Decide today to believe that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.  How will you know you have truly made up your mind to believe?  You will seek Him, in prayer, in love, in church, in worship, in service.  And shouldn’t we, as His children, believe that the best part of our life is yet to come.  I suppose Heaven would be when the sun is at its highest point, but no matter where the sun is positioned in our life today, God’s promise, if we earnestly seek Him, is that our sun will continue to rise.  So, believe…you must!

Pastor Lee is the Lead Pastor at CrossRoads Community Church in San Antonio, Texas. His message focuses on the healing power of Scripture through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is the Father of three awesome sons and he is madly in love with his wife, Amy. And his favorite past time is losing golf balls in the rough while attempting to play a round of golf.

Posted in Encouragement, faithfulness, Salvation, Serving, Spiritual Growth, Thanksgiving, Worship Tagged with: , , ,
6 comments on “You Better Believe!
  1. Susan kleckner says:

    Good reminder

  2. Priscilla Hale says:

    Love this, I will be praying for God to reveal to me where in my life I am not believing Him and for him to help me over come my unbelief!

  3. Playing Devil's Advocate says:

    So, Lee, where does this leave a person who believes in God, by their own admission, but disbelieves in large portions of the Word of God? If it is a specific belief in a specific God that we’re talking about, then where does that leave one who picks and chooses amongst the scriptures, choosing to believe only those that make them comfortable, or affirm them in some way, and discarding those that disagree with their lifestyle, or would cause them to alter their person or existence? Is their god God? Or is he simply a construct?

  4. Pastor Lee says:

    Great question Playing Devil’s Advocate. This is especially relevant in today’s Christianity where so many pick and choose. I do think there are two issues within this idea. The first is the interpretation of Scripture. I think there develops different ideas about what Scripture says and requires of the followers of Christ. For example, 1 Corinthians 14:34 teaches that women should remain silent in the church. It is not simply saying that women should not be preachers or teachers, but that they should remain silent. Some have taken this and applied it directly to their congregations. However, it is in Joel that we are taught that the Holy Spirit will be poured out on men and women. And of course, the culture of Biblical times were much different. This is one simple example of how some may accuse others of picking and choosing when it is truly a sincere, but different interpretation of Scripture. However, I don’t believe this is what you are addressing. There are also those who completely ignore or discard certain Scriptures not from the perspective of a different interpretation, but instead for the reasons you mentioned. Hebrews 11:6 teaches that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. I think the answer to your question is found in what it means to seek Him. Jesus said if we love Him, we will obey Him. All obedience to Christ is based on love for others, for self, and for God. When we disobey or ignore certain Scripture, in some form or fashion, we will not be acting in a way that is loving. I cannot earnestly seek the Lord if I am purposely acting in a way that does not practice all of the aspects of 1 Corinthians 13 toward any of His creations or the Lord Himself. To ignore any Scripture for the reasons you mention would require a person to call the God of Scripture a liar. If God is love and all of His commandments direct us to love, we cannot then say that we love Him or that we are seeking Him while actively, without repentance, hurt Him by refusing to love Him or His creation-those people we interact with.

    I would think that you also have some thoughts that led to your question. What do you think? How would you answer your own question?

  5. Playing Devil's Advocate says:

    I would answer my own question…very, very carefully! I find that I am constrained to mimic your response, somewhat, in that I agree with the estimation that there are some things in the Word that were cultural directives, and may be recognized as such, today. Women being silent or wearing head coverings would fall among those things. However, I believe that a person who blithely discards portions of the Scriptures because they “make them uncomfortable”, or don’t mesh with their way of thinking, deceive themselves when they proclaim Christ. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments”(Jn. 14:15, NASB) were the words that Jesus used to instruct His disciples in what would be come to be known as basic Christian behavior. This was a baseline expectation that Christ had for His followers. So, if a person is unwilling to believe that “All scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness…”(2Tim. 3:16, NASB), then it would follow logically that that person, through their own disbelief in those select portions of the scripture, would remove themselves from the ranks of those Christ followers, simply by default, in that through their disbelief, they are incapable of obeying all of the Word. I find it saddening that so many of our congregations today, choose to manipulate the Word, in some attempt to forge a god, with which they can be “comfortable”, rather than just recognize that this walk in which we find ourselves, has nothing to do with our own worldly comfort. We were never promised that this would be easy; to the contrary, in fact. We’ve been warned that the world will hate us for His sake… We were promised tribulation, and trial; not comfort and complacency. John 15 is a wealth of information on what the true Believer can expect… In fact, there’s a statement following John 18 that implies that if the world loves us, there’s a problem. Of course, I’m paraphrasing here, but basically, if we’re of the world, the world will love us, which is to say, if a person who calls themselves “Christian”, is not at enmity with the world, i.e. NOT comfortable and complacent, then the world is flat out not recognizing that person as a Christ Follower. Christ also said, in that same passage, that if those who followed the disciples loved him, that they would keep both His words, and those of His disciples, as they followed Christ.
    It’s brutal, but still simple, I suppose. The answer that I come back to is that because all scripture is inspired, it must be inerrant and infallible. For any part of it to be errant or fallible, would make that inspiration moot, as God cannot make mistakes. If it is inspired, then it must be followed as instruction from God, and none of it may lightly be discarded for the comfort or concern of a true Christian. If God is God, and the Bible is His word, then to call ourselves Christians, we must obey it to the very best of our ability. To do otherwise is to allow for the very first sin – Lucifer’s sin – pride, to come into our lives. When I take the Word, and discard it because I don’t like the fact that sin is sin, then I’m saying to God, that my thoughts are higher than His. My ways are better, because I know better than what He told me in His Word.
    It’s absurd, to say the very least, that any man could possibly know better than God…

  6. Playing Devil's Advocate says:

    In my previous statement, I mis-spoke… It’s John 15:18… In a statement following John 15:18. My apologies.

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