Upholding the official beliefs and doctrines of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and spreading the three angels' message of Revelation 14:6-12
LESSON 7 - BELIEVING IS A MATTER OF TRUST
BElIEVING IS A MATTER OF TRUST
'I believe that the sun will shine tomorrow.' 'I believe it's half past seven.'
These are normal ways of speaking. We say 'believe' and mean think, accept, suspect, hope, or even accepting as true. We often speak of believing when we don't exactly know something.
In Hebrew believing means comprehending, ascertaining, being true. In Greek believe implies thinking of as true (Matthew 24:26). Trust and fidelity. It is a question of people's relationships with each other. When Christians speak of believing they express their intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. So that this relationship can be arrived at, the Bible tells us in detail about Jesus Christ and the miracles which He performed.
'But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.'
A young man meets a young woman. Their meeting arouses feelings in both of
them. They meet more often. They get to know and understand each other. Not only do they find they like each other, but they are drawn together. They confess their love for each other. From now on they are together as often as possible.
Then comes the wedding. Each promises to be true to each other. In other words they will not simply live with each other but for each other. They will have said, 'I love you, I trust you, I take you as you are, I believe in you, I'll
stick by you.' Given this basis, a good relationship is possible.
YOU CAN LEARN TO BELIEVE
Whatever applies in the human sphere also applies in the relationship of man to God. We must get to know Him before we can believe in Him.
Many say: 'I have not had the good fortune to grow up in a Christian home.' Others maintain: 'I am not at all religiously inclined.' In this way they try to avoid making a decision. But Christian belief is not a question of origin, inclination or upbringing. Every human being can get to know God and believe in Him. God excludes nobody.
'(God) wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.'
I Timothy 2:4.
WHO WILL LISTEN?
Through the Bible we get to know Jesus Christ. The first step towards belief therefore consists in hearing God's Word.
'Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.'
Of course, hearing must be practised. It is not sufficient to listen with half an ear. Also it should not be of importance whether the Word of God is pleasing or not.
You discover yourself in the Word of God. You recognize yourself as clearly as in a mirror. That can be unpleasant and painful. In spite of that you don't switch off but continue to listen, and allow yourself to be corrected. You are willing to accept the implications of what you have seen and heard for your life and actions. Whoever listens honestly can rely on God not leaving him in the lurch (Proverbs 2:7).
BELIEVING WITH UNDERSTANDING
Believing is sometimes a real battle with reason. Trusting in the promises which Jesus makes us, seems partly to run contrary to logic and experience. But belief accepts that everything is possible, for it counts on Jesus and His unlimited possibilities. In Luke 5:1-11 we read the story of Peter's fishing trip. Peter had caught nothing the whole night long. Then Jesus commanded him to go out in broad daylight. Although the command made no sense to Peter the fisherman, he said:
"'Because you say so, I will let down the nets."' Luke 5:5.
SOMETHING'S REALLY HAPPENING
Peter knew Jesus. He trusted Him. His reply began, 'Because you say so,...' Therefore he subjected his own fragment of knowledge to the endless knowledge of Jesus. He was obedient, and that was proof of the genuine nature of his belief The Bible says,
'Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.' James 2:17.
SIMPLY A QUESTION OF FEELINGS?
Feelings can easily be influenced. They can deceive and quickly waver. You cannot always trust them. Therefore it is good that belief is based not only on feelings, but on Jesus of whom it is said:
'Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever.' Hebrews 13:8.
'"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away."'
'"Surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age."' Matthew 28:20.
DEPEND ON IT!
We can rely on Jesus and His word. Whoever believes in Jesus knows for sure: I am accepted by Him.
'And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.'
1 John 5:11-13.
BECOMING AND GROWING
Although Jesus no longer lives among us as a man, we can still grow in our belief in Him. Again the example of the male-female relationship can help us. Lovers talk together, listen to each other, and do things together. In this way they grow closer and closer together. If we relate this to our spiritual life, growth comes from believing.
There are four points which help us here:
Through Bible reading we come to know Jesus better and better. Jesus says:
'"I am the bread of life."' John 6:35.
Thus Jesus satisfies our hunger for spiritual fulfilment.
'"I am the way."' John 14:6. Thus Jesus frees us from the cul-de-sac of life.
'"I am the truth."' John 14:6. Through Jesus we are kept from making mistakes.
'"I am the life."' John 14:6. Through Him our lives receive meaning and hope extending beyond death.
Whoever believes, prays. Just as a person cannot live without breathing, so, for the Christian, there is no life without prayer. Prayer deepens our relationship with Jesus.
'"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."'
Being a Christian is not a thing which takes place in secret. We look for the fellowship of other believers and experience how our belief thereby grows.
'They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.' Acts 2:42.
He who has experienced Christ tells other people about it. He cannot keep quiet about the positive change in His own life.
'"Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks."' Matthew 12:34.
'"We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."' Acts 4:20.
STRONGER THAN EVER BEFORE
In life we run the risk - with minimal hesitation - of linking ourselves with another person. Of course we know that our partner has weaknesses and faults just as we do. But we rely on the firm link which we have developed with him. Together we'll get by all right. Jesus Christ is perfect. We don't need
to make any excuses for Him. But neither are we able to fool Him. He offers us partnership with Him. He wants always to be there by our side - no ifs and buts. That is more than we can expect from any human being. With Jesus we are stronger than ever before without running the slightest risk.
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