What does it mean to believe? According to Merriam-Webster the full definition of believe is:
to have a firm religious faith; to accept something as true, genuine or real;
to have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something;
to hold an opinion; think
This definition ranges from a firm religious faith to a firm conviction to holding an opinion. What we believe seeps out into our actions and interactions with others. This is true for what we believe deeply about ourselves to superficial beliefs about the weather, for example. There is a complexity to our belief system that is, much of the time, unspoken or even unidentified, but surfaces through words, actions and sometimes most vibrantly through reactions to others. What is my core belief about myself when the not-so-nice side of me surfaces; when I become prideful, fearful, insecure, angry, selfish, withdrawn or controlling? For me personally, I’ve identified that comes from a deep rooted belief that I’m worthless, unimportant and insignificant, but I know based on what God says in His word that those beliefs are lies. When you are in circumstances that prevent you from striving to achieve success and the value that comes from it, whatever that looks like for you- the tough situations in life filled with some kind of loss, you have choices on how you respond to your beliefs- the positive and negative. Over my life, I’ve spent time in the pit with my negative belief system and experience has taught me it leads to darkness, loss and death. In my current situation, by far the most long-lasting challenge I’ve experienced regarding my health, I’ve found joy, truth, gratitude, grace and wholeness because of my belief in who God is, not what I can do. God replaces false, deep rooted beliefs with His truth. It is possible, I’ve experienced it.
Our beliefs affect us, or at least they should.
When it comes to living my life for Jesus, do I want to have a firm faith and conviction or just hold an opinion about who He is, what He’s done and how He says to live? Does my belief change my heart, mind, speech and actions or do I simply hold an opinion, but it doesn’t mark my life? Even more than what do I think, how am I going to live because I believe? Do I live in a way that reflects that I accept the Bible and its message of Love to be true, genuine and real? Do I believe in the goodness of God regardless of the circumstances I find myself in? Do I believe that Jesus’ life, death and resurrection are true and does this affect how I treat others?
As I read through the gospel of John, I’m going to highlight in my Bible words that Jesus speaks and look closely at the context of any tense of the word believe.
In John 1:38 Jesus asked His first question, “What do you seek?” Imagine you are in Bethany in 85 AD with John the Baptist, not the author of the gospel, in when Jesus begins his three year ministry and you are hearing Jesus ask you, “What do you seek?”. Would you journey with me through the pages of John in the Bible to discover who Jesus is and to decide for yourself if you believe in Him? An invitation has been issued; it’s now up to you.