Do you believe in Jesus? What does that even mean?
We tend to have a very surface belief in Jesus, while our true trust is placed in ourselves or our bank account. In John 6, we see Jesus in a very gentle way exposing something that is true about all of us: when we do seek Him, it is often more because we want something from Him, not because we want Him. Our true hope is placed in better circumstances, not in Jesus. We just want Jesus to fix our problems and make our life easier.
But Jesus wants more for us. He wants us to find abundant life in Him.
I too often substitute a knowledge about God and godliness for truly knowing God. I can defend the truths of the gospel, but I often fail to experience its transforming power in my life.
In my earlier years, I had assumed that the gospel was for non-Christians alone and had little or no relevance to the Christian life once someone was converted.
But I began to learn that the gospel is not just a gate I pass through one time, but a path I should walk each day of my life.
It’s a painfully common story. We begin the Christian life well, but gradually find ourselves increasingly experiencing little or no true spiritual transformation. How, then, does the power of the gospel transform our idolatrous hearts?
Jesus’ message was simple but life-changing: “Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15). Believing the gospel requires a continual rehearsing of and delighting in the many privileges that are now ours in Christ:
You are forgiven! Instead of continually punishing yourself for your sins, trying to earn forgiveness, or attempting to measure up to perfectionistic standards, you must learn to believe that The Good News is that you can do absolutely nothing to make God love you any more or less!
You are accepted! (2 Corinthians 5:21). You no longer need to fear rejection. You no longer must win the approval of others or hide your weaknesses. You don’t always have to defend or build your reputation. You can stop trying to be who you are not and admit to God and others that you are a sinner. Now you can move toward others with a bold, Christ-like love.
You are adopted! (1 John 3:1–2). You don’t need to live or feel like a spiritual orphan anymore. You now have immediate access to the Father’s presence, the promise of His provision for your every need, and the privilege of His discipline for your good.
You are free! No matter how defeated you may now feel in your battle with sin, you are no longer in bondage to it (Romans 6:5–18). No matter what your current struggle, true hope exists for lasting change.
You are not alone! Through faith in Christ, you have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit to come alongside you, to comfort you, to encourage you, and to empower you to live the life God has called you to live (John 16:5–15).
It has been said that a stone lying in the sun can’t help but grow warm. In the same way, as we learn to expose our stony hearts to the warmth and light of the gospel, we can’t help but be transformed.
We should preach this Good News to ourselves and others constantly so that no matter what our struggles and fears may be, we can be encouraged, strengthened, and changed by hearing God’s voice repeating these eternal truths to our hearts again and again.