Believe is my “one word” for 2014. I’ll take today to explain and share with you my journey and scriptural base for why I chose to focus on “believe” for 2014.
To exercise and strengthen our muscle of faith, we must choose to believe God. Henrietta Mears, the founder of Gospel Light, was asked at the end of her life, if she could do anything different with her life, what would it be? She said, “Believe God more.” Joyce Meyer says, “We are called ‘believe-ers’—otherwise we would be called ‘try-ers.’”
Not too long ago, holiday advertisers asked the question, “Do you believe in Santa?” The Huffington Post shared a recent discussion on whether or not it is healthy for children to believe in Santa Claus. “Generally, lying to kids is a bad thing. But for many children, believing in Santa is a normal and healthy part of development.” Yet another child psychologist, Dr. Chaley-Ann Scott, says, “When my eldest son, Jack, was told Santa was NOT real, I can still remember the look on his face: confusion, sadness, and incredible anger when he discovered that I—the person he felt he could trust the most in the world—had lied to him. He looked directly at me with such sad, tear-filled eyes and said, “I will never trust you again.” From my counseling work, I have discovered I am by no means alone in this experience. Just like my son, many children are devastated to find out the truth about Santa.” Huffington Post – Dec. 20, 2013
Have you looked forward to something for a long time, and when you finally got it, it wasn’t at all what you thought it would be? Did you feel deceived? Like you had been tricked? You had faith in the object, not in the one it came from. What about when you found out Santa was not real? Or the tooth fairy was your mother? “Our belief in God is not blind faith. Belief is having a firm conviction something is true, not hoping it’s true.” —Max Lucado
Belief Brings Relief.
Wikipedia says “Belief is the psychological state in which an individual holds a premise to be true.” No wonder some of us were devastated by deceit when as children, we were lied to by our own parents—betrayed by human beings who loved us. Is it any surprise some of us have a hard time trusting God? When bad things happen to good people, we think, if this is the way God loves me, I don’t want any part of it.
David Wilkerson says, “Likewise today, some Christians are content to merely exist until they die. They don’t want to risk anything, to believe God, to grow or mature. They refuse to believe his Word, and have become hardened in their unbelief. Now they’re living just to die.”
We must trust God, that good or bad, He has best interests in mind for us. How big is your God? Is He big enough to handle all of your problems? There is no middle ground when it comes to believing God—either we operate in fear or faith.
“Believing God’s plan is best is a crisis of the will. We are deceived when we feel we can’t trust God with our situation and don’t believe he can help us. Doubt is the opposite of belief. The only anecdote for unbelief is to accept the truth. Those who believe God can put their faith in Him in any circumstance. Once we understand God’s character, we can trust him and believe He loves us. In spite of immobilizing circumstances, we can choose to move gracefully and freely through trials.
“Through embracing our Identity in Christ, we can let go of our past feelings of shame, blame, unworthiness. We must let the blood of Jesus cover our sin, accept God’s forgiveness and learn how to walk in our identity in Christ. This is knowing the truth of what God says about me and acting accordingly.” Get Back Up: Trusting God When Life Knocks You Down (page 16)
That’s how . . . belief brings relief. Our key scripture: “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promise to her.” Luke 1:45 talks about the faith of Elizabeth who spoke this over her cousin, Mary, upon Mary’s visit. Elizabeth knew her purpose; Elizabeth recognized Mary’s purpose was higher than hers. She believed in God’s faithfulness and rejoiced in Mary’s blessed condition. She knew who she was in Christ. She knew her identity in Christ.
We must understand our identity in Christ . There’s a big difference between who you are in yourself and who you are in Christ. The first book of Ephesians talks about our Identity in Christ. Later on, please read how many times Ephesians 1 says “in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” In and of ourselves, we are nothing. In Him, you and I are complete, lacking in nothing. Complete: satisfied, finished, perfected, filled up, assured, confident, secure. Ephesians 1:4 says, “For he chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.” If we know who we are in Christ, what you are or what you lack doesn’t matter any more. In Christ, you are LOVED, you are SAFE, you are IMPORTANT
Ephesians 1:11 says, “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.“ Even during the times you might think you trust God fully, do you know about this? You are chosen in him, you are walking according to His plans!
Belief doesn’t just happen. It’s a conscious choice to put one’s hope in something worthy of trust. It is having faith in Someone who is reliable. One of God’s character qualities is His faithfulness; He is worthy of our trust. He is constant, unwavering, dependable and reliable. Faithfulness is his fiber; it is his being. He will not change.
Belief Brings Peace
“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Mark 9:23
It’s been four and a half years since Pastor Paul was killed in a motorcycle accident. It’s been difficult, this time of healing, questioning God, and trusting God for my future. I never would have imagined I’d be a widow at my age. As many of you have experienced, at times in our lives, God’s will doesn’t make sense; somedays when my life seemed overwhelming, I remembered: with God NOTHING is impossible.
I believe God’s character qualities of faithfulness, grace, and love are wrapped around my circumstances. I am trusting the God who loves, whose word never fails, to provide what I need during this time of healing. Isaiah 57:1–2 says, “The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.”
So I must trust God’s character. He loves my late husband, Paul. He loves me. He loves my son, Ben. He loves my daughter, Sarah. We let God be God when by faith, we actually trust Him as the God of our future. We can walk into the uncertainties and the unknowns trusting He is already there, waiting for us. When we know God’s Word, we can stand on His promises.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a great example of offering ourselves willingly to God for His will and purposes. Stepping out in faith means, we don’t wait to see the bottom line, the end of the story, before we walk with God, even if the outcome doesn’t make sense. Will you say, like Mary, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord, be it done to me according to your Word”? In the weeks after Paul was killed, I decided to accept God’s will, to pray Mary’s prayer: “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word.”
God has a plan for you, in the good and the bad things that come your way. This can be a very scary process. Let him change your view from insecurity to confidence. Recognize God has your best in mind. “Remember—God’s greatest pleasure is to be believed.” Robb Thompson
I mentioned my word for this year—BELIEVE—how did I come to that point? Well, I had to work through my fears, doubts, deception. I’d been dating a man for fourteen months, and we were at a crossroads. We are in love, and yet I kept thinking, I just want to have fun. God asked me to make a commitment to him—to both God and the man—Jim Turner. This was a commitment I didn’t plan or figure I would ever do again. I kept arguing with God about falling in love. I hadn’t planned this; I hadn’t planned to get married. But God in His mercy planned it and orchestrated my Boaz to redeem me from my widowed state, to bring me to a place of healing and future hope.
May I pray for you today? Let’s bow:
Father, we need your help. You know how hard it is for us to overcome . . . it is hard work. Thank you for your word, Philippians 3:12–14, which says, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: FORGETTING WHAT IS BEHIND and STRAINING TOWARD what is ahead, I PRESS ON toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Thank you, Lord, for your love and grace. Thanks for your strength as we choose we will not give up. Let me “believe.” In Jesus’ name, amen.
A P.S.: One of my friends, author and speaker PAM FARREL, co-director of LoveWise, says “I like to layer ‘My One Word’ of the Year into my life placing the word on a photo/poster, on coffee mug, T-shirt, and use as a password, and yes, even a perfume (grace, beauty for example.)”
What about you? Do you have any ideas about how we can share and remind ourselves of “My One Word”?