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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.

14 Comments

  1. First, thank you for the mention.

    I love the statement, “True belief drives us to experience.” In the case of our belief in God and His son, it drives us to experience life in and through His Spirit.

    I’m in danger of bleeding into my post for today, but basically if we truly placed our belief in God, He comes to dwell in us, and we are propelled to live different, transformed.
    Dusty Rayburn recently posted..Since that Day When He DiedMy Profile

    • You are welcome. As I began to read the chapter, I realized it was part of a larger conversation we were already having. Love when that happens. Good thoughts here and can’t wait to read your post as well. Thanks Dusty.

  2. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled Matthew 5:6

    I am hungering for more…there is a need for more…”more” of Him changes the who I am. The world definitely needs a hungry Church.

    Thanks Jason…needed to read this today.
    Jay Cookingham recently posted..Saying my PeaceMy Profile

    • Yeah, I hear ya. I need to say this, read this, live this, and experience it over and over. It’s time, Jay! Thanks so much.

  3. Definitely finding myself seeking Him more and more, not only because of the belief that I want Him to save me; but also that I believe that He wants to know me and wants me to truly know Him. I don’t have it all yet, but I’m further along than I was and digging in. Great thoughts today, thanks Jason!
    Philip recently posted..Sabbatical? Nah just lazinessMy Profile

    • That desire is born of the Spirit and the Father’s drawing. I’m with you and it’s a beautiful place to be! Thank you, Philip.

  4. Ouch… I’ve often said the foundational issue and problem for this earth can be boiled down to one word; selfishness. Tozer argues brilliantly that fact. The “self-sins” are the ones that keep us from living the “more abundant” life. To die with Christ… is to live the life He’s designed. That’s a tough thing to ponder in my life…

    A lot stuck out to me, but one I’ll share this week is, The Reverend Assembly of Divines at Westminster, as recorded by the “old New-England Primer” ask, the age old question Solomon asked, (Solomon added by me), “What is the the chief End of Man? Answer: Man’s chief End is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

    The more basic or boiled down to it’s root, the easier it is to establish our own personal statement of faith.

    • And as selfless as we feel or can make ourselves on our own, there is only one sure cure--the cross. I like that as a simple personal statement of faith too. Powerful. Thank you, Floyd.

  5. We have many practical atheists in our churches today who claim they believe in God but they live their lives as if He doesn’t exist. Our beliefs must be backed up by our actions!
    Kevin Martineau recently posted..Our thoughts are the key to real changeMy Profile

    • It’s a very scary position to be in because you think you have the truth, but it’s a shallow facsimile that doesn’t penetrate the heart. We need His awakening power to touch us--start with me, Lord.

      Thank you, Kevin.

  6. Each Monday I do a post on a chapter from the book, “The Cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I think your post goes nicely with it.
    Bonhoeffer was speaking to the German church in the 1930-40′s, telling them about the costliness of God’s grace, who it should motivate us into a relationship with Christ and how we should be DOERS and not Hearers only.
    The church then and now has watered down God’s grace until it has become cheap. It offers forgiveness but not much else. It doesn’t have the power to change lives and set people free because people don’t want to be confronted with the truth of their sin.

    Great post! Really enjoyed it. Keep on preaching!!!

    • I don’t know how to stop preaching, TC! There seems to always be the propensity to make grace “other than” what it truly is, but the hunger for Him, for that which is REAL, overrides every other pursuit. Thanks so much.

  7. It may be semantics, but you hit on a key difference in what the Bible says and how most of us interpret it. Believe “in” versus believe “about”. It’s like Glynn’s post of getting from the head to the heart. If we only know about Jesus, we don’t really know Jesus. His harshest condemnation wasn’t the seven woes, but when he said “away from me… I never knew you.” I fear so many equate knowledge about with intimate knowledge of. And like many have mentioned in the comments, the fruit of that difference is shown in our lives. If we really know Jesus, then our lives will show it.
    Frank recently posted..Knowing, Trusting, EnteringMy Profile

    • Thank you, Frank. I really like that synopsis (in vs. about). Frames things perfectly. We can make excuses, but He really is drawing us into the Presence, as Tozer descibes our God. Such a stirring in me! Thanks again.