“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.”
“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
1 Peter 1:8-9
This morning I read a statement by Oswald Chambers that I’d like to pause and contemplate:
“We say—’If I really could believe!’ The point is—If I really will believe. No wonder Jesus Christ lays such emphasis on the sin of unbelief. ‘And He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.’ If we really believed that God meant what He said—what should we be like! Dare I really let God be to me all that He says He will be?’
Processing these thoughts, they strike me as remarkable. A challenge to us that our belief must not be based on feeling, but on our choice. The question of, “Will I believe?”
Another striking aspect to me is in Chambers’ last line. Because there are some who might try to twist the focus in his statements based on his selection of Matthew 13:58, in which Jesus did not do many miracles in Nazareth due to the unbelief of the people. There is potential there for those who claim that God will always give us what we ask for (money, success, physical healing) if we simply have “enough faith.” But Chambers’ final statement clarifies his focus, and highlights what ours is to be: Will we believe that God will be to us all that He says?
Not “do for us,” but “be to us.”
God is our strength, our light, our hope, our everything. He is faithful and true. He is steadfast and unchanging. He is a refuge and fortress, and very present help to us in troubles we experience. He is the One who satisfies our hearts with who He is.
The world gets us focused on what we want.
But it is the person of Jesus Christ who fills all in all.
It is this connection with the God of heaven that fills us with fullness of joy so great it is inexpressible (Psalm 16:11; 1 Peter 1:8)
Eternal life is knowing God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son whom He sent, and experiencing the love and grace poured into our hearts through His Spirit who has been given to us (John 17:3; Romans 5:5)
When we choose to believe God, we open ourselves to experience the wonderful, powerful reality of who He is to those who are His. A reality that changes us at the core as we are made to be like Him. “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18). As Chambers wonders in the statement above, “If we really believed that God meant what He said—what should we be like!”
“Choose this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15). Choose this day whom you will believe. Choose with purpose and intentionality.
And, oh, let it be the Lord. Choose to believe the One who will fill your soul with His light and His peace that passes all understanding. And choose to position your heart, your mind, your strength, your will – all that you are – to live out that belief in joyful obedience. Because all of His commands are filled with His goodness, light, and wisdom, and He empowers us through His Spirit to follow Him. And the closer we walk with Him, the more we get of Him.
May I make that choice. The choice to believe. The choice to dwell here, in His presence, not passing casually over statements and reminders of His greatness, His wisdom, His power, His faithfulness, His love. But fixing my eyes resolutely on Him and positioning my heart toward love, obedience, and belief in this God who sent His Son to die in my place, that I would be set free in knowing Him.
Choose to believe, and walk forward in His freedom and light. Knowing it is the God of heaven who walks with you.
“For Your steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in Your faithfulness.” Psalm 26:3