Question: Do you believe? Do you really, really believe?
Answer: Yes, I believe. I am a believer.
What do you believe?
Answer: Well... I believe in God and in Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus was a real historic person and
lived 2000 years ago. I believe in heaven and hell.
Question: Excellent, but do you believe the really difficult things? - Do
you believe that Jesus is God come in the flesh?
Question: Well then, do you believe in the virgin birth?
I'm not sure about that, but I do believe...etc.
This hypothetical exchange is familiar to most Christians, a typical discussion about
believing. Many Christians are of the opinion that believing is about doctrine; that the subject of belief is a doctrinal statement
consisting of a long litany of truths; and within that list of truths are certain critical core doctrines which determine your stature
as a “true believer”, a Christian.
In the New Testament “Believe” (pisteuw ”pisteuo”) is a very important word, used
more than 90 times in the Gospel of John alone! But in the New Testament, the object of the verb ”pisteuo” is a person, not
a doctrine. The sense of the word in the Greek is reliance upon... not mere credence. Here “Believe” points to a trusting relationship
with a person - Jesus Christ, rather than an just an understanding about something or an agreement about something.
I have a
small puppy named Obadiah, a golden-white cockapoo. My puppy doesn't know anything about me; he doesn't know any of my history,
who I am, what I have done, where I came from, what I do for a living, where I go to church, who my parents are, how I voted in the
last elections... etc. In fact my puppy doesn't know any “doctrine” about me. But he has an attitude about me. Whenever
we are in the same room, I am the center of his attention - his eyes follow me wherever I go.. He follows me from room to room
just to be in my presence. When I sit down in my chair he comes to me, sits at my feet and begs to be allowed up onto my lap.
When given permission he leaps up onto my lap and actively presents himself for my attention. Then, after I rub him behind the
ears and speak to him softly, assuring him that I really care about him, he gives a big sigh and then settles down on my lap, just
resting there. He is perfectly content to just rest in my presence. The message is clear, “OK, I'm available... love me”.
attitude is not based on a litany of doctrine or a list of principles, but on a relationship, on trust. He knows that
I am trustworthy, that I care for him and enjoy having a relationship with him. My puppy actively seeks out that relationship and
actively presents himself to be loved. He makes himself available for that relationship. This is what I call “Puppiness”.
in the Greek (pisteuw ”pisteuo”) is no more complicated than Puppiness; it is based on the trust-worthiness of God and his delight
in our being related to Him. “Believe” has a precise focus in the Bible; it's object is God himself manifested in the indwelling person
of Jesus Christ.
God's heart is that we be related to Him, that we come to him, present ourselves to Him, to say to Him “OK,
I'm available.love me”. We need to learn to snuggle down into His presence and actively give him permission to love us; seek
Him in prayer and ask Him to teach you the simple skill of Puppiness.
this pamphlet for your own use . . .
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