What does it mean to believe in Jesus? I have often wanted to ask this question to some who profess a belief in Jesus and thereby Christianity because what I see in their lives many times doesn’t match up with biblical principles. That’s not to say Christians are perfect, we all know that’s not true, but there are outward signs of our inward spirit. And it is our inward spirit that has been born again and being renewed.
Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this word, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Colossians 3:10 ….and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
When we say, “I believe in Jesus,” we should be acknowledging His Lordship in every part of our lives. If we are not acknowledging Jesus as Lord and thereby Savior, then we need to re-evaluate our hearts and relationship with Him. It’s not enough to merely say we believe, even demons believe in God.
James 2: 19 “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.”
The demons believe, but they don’t submit or acknowledge Jesus’ Lordship – that is the difference.
Believing in Jesus goes beyond a one time commitment and profession of faith. It must be accompanied with action. I believe in Him, so I seek Him in prayer. I acknowledge His Lordship, so I read and study His word. I love Jesus, so I sing and worship Him. I obey Him, so I gather with other believers. I serve Him, so I treat others kindly, I believe in Him, so I….. It can go on and on, but how are we to know what Jesus wants for us if we don’t pray and study God’s word? It’s all in there. It is more valuable than diamonds and is readily available to us, yet we often don’t continue on in our faith by reading and studying God’s word, praying and listening to Him, loving Him with all our hearts, and loving each other.
Praying, reading, studying, acknowledging, obeying, serving, singing praise are all action words. But, it is not only in the doing, but in the motivation and desire as well. We can do all these things, but unless our motivation is to truly know, serve and love Him it becomes just religiosity, or outward action with no transformation. Our spirit needs to continue to be renewed and transformed by His Spirit.
The Lord instructs us in His word to be active in our faith or it will die.
James 2:14-17 “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15. Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed, ‘ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17. In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
I am not saying we are saved by our works. Far from it! It is only by the grace of our Lord Jesus who died for our sins that we are we saved.
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – 9. not by works, so that no one can boast.”
I am saying that if we say we have faith and believe in Jesus as Lord, there will be an outward sign of what is being renewed in us every day. How can our minds be renewed if we don’t have them focused on Him? Notice the Bible doesn’t say our minds are renewed when we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, it says being renewed.
Believing in Jesus, aka, being a Christian, should be about transformation and renewal of our spirits that will never reach an end in this life. There should be repentance. There should be ongoing change as we grow in fullness, wisdom and knowledge of Him. There should be relationship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. There should be seeking. There should be forward movement, “walking” with Him. This is how we acknowledge and believe in His Lordship, by seeking, desiring and finding out the depth of his love for us.
Accepting the Lord Jesus as Savior is the first step for sure. But don’t stop there. By accepting Him, he allows us to share in His divine nature so that we can escape the corruption of this evil world.
2 Peter 1:3-9 “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
If people are around me enough, I would hope that they can see the outward signs of my inner spirit being renewed as I grow in Him. I certainly don’t get things right all the time, but I am moving forward. Unfortunately, there were many years that I didn’t really move forward in letting God renew my spirit. Other than my church attendance, I can’t say I did any thing to advance my faith and spiritual walk. But, thanks be to God, He brought me to a place where I cried out to him. That’s another part of “My Story” that you’ll be seeing more of on this journey.
It’s a wonderful journey. The more I understand and know of our loving God, the closer and closer I want to come to Him. I have felt His presence and the love that fills my mind and heart in that moment, the all encompassing fulfillment of His love for me in that moment, is indescribable. The word says we are citizens of heaven. We should fix our gaze on Him and act and react in a manner worthy of our calling and citizenship.
Join me, my friends, on this wonderful journey of knowing, seeking, and finding the depths and riches of His glory.