READ: Judges 4-6, Psalm 74, John 6, Galatians 1
It is impossible to please both God and man (GaL. 1:10). To be a God pleaser is out of fashion. “Christianity,” G.K. Chesterton says, “always seems to be out of fashion because it is always sane – and all fashions are mild insanities.” The Scripture is clear; without faith it is impossible to please God, because He who comes to God must BELIEVE that He is, and that He rewards those who trust Him (Heb. 11:6). The most sane thing we can do then is also the most unpopular – it is to believe.
Belief is our work. Jesus (in John 6:29) said: “This is the work of God, that you believe.” Belief is hard work. Everything around us attacks our faith. Circumstances, rival ideologies, false religions, lack of requested proof, the success of our enemies – all combine like allied kings against the people of God. Demons and demigods consort against us and we must realize that like Sisera, God deploys enemies against us that He might deliver them into our hands (Judges 4:7). Our response to challenge is primarily to believe. Plunked down here in the middle of the Arab world, I must BELIEVE that God is going to be exalted by every unreached people on earth. This is my primary work, my labor, my assignment – this is the work of God – that I believe in Jesus and that I believe Jesus will reign everywhere, among all peoples.
Belief is our drink. When I believe Jesus, I never thirst (John 6:35). There is an interesting link between satisfaction and belief. The human heart is insatiable when it desires anything other than Jesus. We have infinite capacity to be dissatisfied – it is one of the few ways we are unlimited. But when we believe Jesus, we are at peace, we lose the restlessness and the unending drive for contentment. Believing satisfies. Believing is my happy, settled home.
Belief is our life. “This is the will of God…Everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:40, 47). Belief is my eternity. It is by believing that heaven is secured. Jesus wants me to believe, because believing is my ticket to eternal everything. This belief is not a random optimism. It is not a sincere fixation on what is false. Belief is only life when it is connected to Jesus. And it must be specific that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God (v. 69). There is no eternal security outside of a devoted belief that Jesus is God.
To not believe is to betray. When we don’t believe that Jesus is God, we are in deep trouble. “Jesus knew from the beginning who would not believe and who would betray” (John 6:64). When we deny that Jesus is omnipotent God, when we don’t believe that Jesus is divine – either by word or action – we betray Him. Woe to those who betray Jesus by not believing He is fully God and fully man. They end up suicidal. Do not commend those who pretend to honor Jesus by giving Him partial respect. To deny the complete divinity of Jesus is to slander and defame Him. To not believe Jesus is God is to side with demons. Pope Francis I said it well in his first homily: “He who does not pray to the Lord prays to the devil. When we don’t proclaim Jesus Christ, we proclaim the worldliness of the devil.”