“I Believe” was the phrase on an adorable, vintage-looking, Santa t-shirt I saw at Target the other day. And I almost purchased it, but the practical side of me decided that I needed to spend my money on something that could be worn year-round. Even days after my Target visit, I found myself still thinking about that phrase: “I believe.”
We do A LOT of things around the holidays, based on a pretend “belief.” We are willing to shop ‘til we drop, bake like maniacs, have our children write wish lists, stand in endlessly long lines to have a very expensive picture taken with the “old guy”, search high and low for the “must have” toy, hang stockings, stay up late wrapping gifts, only to place them under a very costly tree…you get my drift. I couldn’t help but compare/contrast that with our “said” TRUE belief in Christ. What does the WORD say? “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and BELIEVE in your HEART that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9). Let’s look at that middle part: “…believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead…” Do my words, thoughts and actions signify that the RISEN CHRIST is ALIVE in me? I’ve often thought, while willingly viewing a morally-questionable movie/tv show, “I wonder if I would watch this with Jesus sitting right here?” Well, guess what, Tiff? He is not only HERE…He is INSIDE of YOU!!! If I truly believed that, I wouldn’t indulge in garbage. And not due to the misconception that God is angrily wagging His “no, no” finger at me, but because I would finally be living in gratitude for what He’s done, not wanting to grieve His Holy Spirit within me. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20a).
Another commonly professed belief was being sung yesterday by my almost, 5 year-old daughter, Lily: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so…” Too often, the TRUTHFUL IMPACT of that song gets watered down as a mere “children’s song”, practically lumped in with “Jingle Bells.” But do I really BELIEVE that JESUS LOVES ME, or do I simply parrot what I’ve heard all of my life…only deep down…knowing that He’s really mad, disappointed and upset with me…never measuring up? Again, if we look at the WORD, nothing could be farther from the truth: “…the Father Himself LOVES YOU because you have loved Me and have believed that I came from God.” (John 16:27), “To Him who LOVES US and has freed us from our sins by His blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father – to Him be glory and power forever and ever! Amen.” (Revelation 1:6), “But God demonstrates His own LOVE for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). If we could even grasp a modicum of Christ’s love, it would overwhelm EVERY PART our lives. When life is lived out of love and gratitude, it’s freeing and exciting. We can do things for our family and friends, genuinely expecting nothing in return. We’ll begin to see people through God’s eyes of mercy and compassion. We can ask God for miracles and expect them to happen, because we know that our motive is pure! I have a pastor friend who recently said, “This might be considered heresy, but I would venture to say that most everyone in the world has heard the gospel. Christ’s return is now dependent on Christians who will LOVE.”
Speaking of Christ’s return…do we honestly BELIEVE that He is coming? How do our words, thoughts and actions reflect that? I just received an e-mail this morning, from my husband, who has been traveling for the past two weeks: “Flight 51 from London Heathrow. I am coming HOME! I love you…Me.” Can I just tell you, that message made my heart LEAP! I miss Brad SO MUCH and can’t wait to see him. And you’d better believe I’m preparing for his arrival: cleaning the house, grocery shopping, etc. How is it any different with Jesus? “Behold, I am COMING SOON! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.” (Revelation 22:7) What if we knew that Jesus was returning tomorrow? How would we spend our time? I guarantee you that most malls would be empty, tv’s would be off, facebook wouldn’t even be a thought and we might even take a risk and tell our neighbors about the Lord’s imminent return…this is very convicting for me, as I write. The truth of the matter is…He really could come tomorrow or even today…does that excite us, or scare us?
Oh friends…can you hear Him? The Holy Spirit is CALLING us to take these BELIEFS to HEART!!! Let’s soak in these truths: The all-powerful, resurrected Christ LIVES in me. Jesus LOVES me ( and all people). Jesus is COMING SOON! May our WORDS, THOUGHTS and ACTIONS prove that we BELIEVE Him!