Encouragement for Today - Mar. 11, 2010
March 11, 2010
What Does It Mean To ‘Believe?'
"If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved." Romans 10:9 (NIV)
I didn't take the time to discuss it with my parents or even tell them where I was going. Inside that large arena, I leaped from my seat and ran toward the stage. I was running to Jesus. My mother called my name and begged me to stop. As I looked back at her, a sea of people began to fill the gap between us. Normally, this would have frightened a small child, but I wasn't afraid at all. The pull towards the stage was much stronger than the fear of being separated from my mother. Luckily, a counselor reunited us and my mother was there to witness my introduction to Jesus.
I was seven years-old when I met Jesus for the first time. While attending a James Robison crusade with my family, I was captured by the words of the evangelist as he described Jesus as the Son of God and the Savior of the world. That divine night, my eyes were opened to God's message of hope. When Pastor Robison invited all who believed to come forward, I went.
That was an exciting day for me. However, as the years passed I noticed something disturbing. I wasn't experiencing the change I had hoped for. In fact, each time I heard a pastor say, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and experience freedom from sin and a life marked by peace, power, and joy," I became more confused. I do believe in Jesus. Why weren't those truths a reality in my life?
Like some today, I had misunderstood what it meant to believe.
To "believe" means much more than simply acknowledging Christ's death on a cross.
Unfortunately, for many today that word has been reduced to just that - a mere mental acknowledgement. Like me, multitudes have said the sinner's prayer because they believe Jesus died on a cross. But without the call to confess sin and commit to a life of following Christ in obedience, no transformation takes place. That's the problem with knowledge alone. It requires no commitment and brings about no lasting change.
The Bible teaches that to believe means to acknowledge what Christ did on the cross and to be so changed by it that we want to obey His will and His Word. Therefore, to believe is to obey. A person who truly believes is compelled by God's love, and responds with a desire to obey Him. Their belief not only motivates them to obey but to trust God completely with their life.
When I finally understood this truth, I made a new and final commitment: "God, I so believe in Your Son who died for my sins that I surrender my will for Yours." Then, I began studying and applying God's Word to my life. That's when I noticed real change taking place. I noticed something else too. My problems didn't instantly go away, but I wasn't carrying them alone anymore. That's not all. No matter who mocked me or what trouble came my way, I decided to trust God. Doing so brought peace to my heart like never before.
A true believer is not only identified by what she confesses, but by the fruit of her obedience. The only way to identify genuine belief in your life and the lives of others is by a life that demonstrates it. When a person has experienced real change through a surrendered life, others will know it by their actions.
If you are like me, wondering why no change has occurred since you prayed to become a Christian, perhaps you need to move from acknowledging Christ to living a life of obedience to Him. I promise you … it's what you're looking for.
Dear Lord, for too long I have only acknowledged You as the Son of God and the Savior of the world. I long for real change. Today, I surrender my will to You. I commit to a life of obedience. Forgive me for my sins and fill me with your Spirit. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
This devotion was adapted from Micca's book, An Untroubled Heart. Order your copy now!
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When Life and Beliefs Collide: How Knowing God Makes a Difference by Carolyn Custis James
Begin today with this commitment: "God, I so believe in Your Son who died for my sins that I surrender my will for Yours." Then follow through by reading the Bible and asking the Holy Spirit to help you life out it's truths by obeying what it says there.
How does your life reflect the fact that faith and action are inseparable?
Can you feel secure in your experience with God if it never leads to obedient action?
James 2:24, "You see then that a person is justified by what he does, and not by faith alone." (NIV)
James 1:23-24, "For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was." James 1:23-24 (NASB)
© 2010 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.
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