When “believing” isn’t enough.
By Olivia Brinker
As I grow in my faith and begin sharing it with others, I have started hearing this phrase way too often, “I believe that Jesus was real and He died for us.” I know that there are many out there that don’t believe in Jesus, but I have come to learn that those are not the only lost people. A huge number of lost people believe in Jesus and are even sure that they are “good” and should be considered a Christian. In an attempt to bring more to Christ, I have to say, believing is not enough!
Before you decide that I am wrong, let’s look at the scripture that most turn to when deciding to be a Christian. “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16 HCSB. I ended the quote at the end of verse 16 because, let’s be honest, a lot of us like to do that when looking to the Bible for assurance. What most don’t realize though, you MUST keep reading! In the next few verses, Jesus describes those unwilling to live in the light and that they will be judged. He then ends with this, “But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God” John 3:21 HCSB. Do you see the importance of reading on?
You see, Jesus doesn’t just want us to believe in Him. He wants our whole lives. I have been thinking on this for a while and trying to choose just a few words that describe the life of a Christian. Now, after the initial choice to follow Christ, these don’t necessarily take place in this order.
- Humility– When we come to know Christ, we should understand just how small and sinful we are in comparison to His glory. This humility should also lead to the growth of our love for others.
- Repentance– This is NOT the same as confession. Repentance is followed by action. We need to recognize our sin and commit to change. If you are the same person after believing in Christ as you were before, something is wrong. While all transformation doesn’t take place overnight, there will be a process of change in your life. God doesn’t allow you to stay the same.
- Fellowship– I understand that finding a church can be hard. We are human after all, we find things we don’t like and decide we can learn from home. This is so dangerous. When we are not surrounded by fellow believers, we aren’t held accountable. I have seen firsthand how quickly one can drift from Christ when not in a church family.
- Evangelism– This is that fancy word for “go talk to people about Jesus”! You see I put an emphasis on the word “talk”. Many people feel like they aren’t good at communicating and excuse this crucial action by using the “I can lead people to Christ through my actions” line. Obviously, our actions are important, but our voices are the only way we can actually teach people truth. As a person forgiven by Christ, we should WANT to tell others about Him!
There are a lot of other characteristics and actions that follow a decision to live for Christ but, for right now, I felt these were important to touch on.
I want you to understand, we are NOT perfect and will most definitely fail at one or all of these things daily. I know I do. But, just because we may fail, should not discourage us from accomplishing these things for the Lord. Don’t let imperfections hinder us from living the life God is calling us to live. After all, “God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong” 1 Corinthians 1:27 HCSB.