Belief Applies Pressure
I read a great post yesterday at Devoted Conversations that quoted John 6:28-29,
Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
This reminded me of 1 John 5:4-5,
…everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
The reality of both verses to me is that what you believe makes you who you are. Believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, not only gives us considerations when we go to make decisions–it forms us and puts us on a path. That belief demonstrates itself by our overcoming the pressures and influences of this world as Jesus did. It lives out compassion and sets things right. This belief demands everything and requires full surrender.
Belief that Jesus is Lord is a defining characteristic for our lives. So why do we have so many Christians who are nominally connected to God or anything resembling a surrendered life?
We are satisfied to rest in our judicial possessions and for the most part we bother ourselves very little about the absence of personal experience. –A.W. Tozer, the Pursuit of God (chapter 3)
In other words, we mentally agree and call that belief, but it doesn’t get to the core, to the heart. We read the Bible and say we have its provisions much like we may have a great aunt who lives in another state and we never see her. We don’t press into the experience because we feel comfortable with having the right doctrine.
Our true beliefs will evidence themselves in how we live and interact with others. That’s not just our belief about Jesus, but everything. If we believe our family comes first, that pressure will guide us. If we believe our job represents security, we will do whatever needs to be done to keep it. If we believe that religious rules and systems are pleasing to God, we will do our best to keep them and feel intense guilt and condemnation when we fall short.
So many beliefs have crowded out the one that gives meaning and foundation to the rest. Jesus is the Christ. He is Lord, and believing on Him for salvation pressures us into a deeper abiding and knowing.
Tozer went on to say,
The world is perishing for lack of the knowledge of God and the Church is famishing for want of His Presence.
True belief won’t stop for platitudes and vain imaginings. It drives us to experience. It drives us to Presence.
There is a hunger inside me even as I write this. As deeply as I hold to the truth, I want the greater, more intimate experience. I want the Presence with every step. That changes everything.
What are your thoughts on this?
Welcome to week 5 of our book club discussion of the Pursuit of God (disclosure) by A.W. Tozer. We are taking a sentence, paragraph, or passage that inspires, encourages, or challenges and writing about it and we are taking two weeks for each chapter. If you have a response on your blog, head over to my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s blog for the widget and another great take. Whether you’ve read the chapter or not, please share your thoughts! We always appreciate a vibrant conversation.