What Does It Mean to Believe In Jesus?
Even the demons believe and tremble...
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
This verse has to be the most renowned Bible verse, but also the most misinterpreted. What does it really mean to believe IN Jesus?
"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).
When we receive the word of God, whether audibly or through reading, it first comes into our mind. This is where the belief starts, when our mind receives the word of God. In what way we receive His word, this is where the differences are separated from someone who acknowledges the truth, and someone who obeys the truth:
"You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!" (James 2:19).
You can see a clear distinction of what it means to believe in Jesus. For even the demons believe but do not obey. When we receive God's word, but do not allow it to transform our lives seeing the fruits of the Spirit manifest, we are left with the faith of demons. Even worse, for at least the demons recognize the consequences and tremble. For there are many who profess to be a Christian but are not walking in the Spirit, having no fear of God.
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God" (Romans 8:14).
Where the transformation happens is when we allow what comes into our mind to be digested into our heart so that the word of God may spread through our spirit giving us life. Just as the foods we consume start at the mouth, with our tongue making a distinction and our stomach agreeing—spreading through our body giving life to our body—likewise, our mind is the mouth to our soul and our discernment the tongue, allowing what to pass through; with our heart coming into agreement, influencing what proceeds out of our mouth:
"But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man..." (Matthew 15:18-20).
You may have heard the phrase, "You are what you eat." Likewise this applies in the spirit. For what we consume in our hearts will influence the nature of our spirit. What we allow to be fed through our eyes and ears can bring forth a blessing or curse upon our souls. This is why Jesus declared:
"I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world" (John 6:51).
"But He (Jesus) answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God'" (Matthew 4:4).
Like a person who's body is starving, their temptation for food grows stronger as time passes. Likewise, when we fast in the spirit from the word of God, sin becomes a stronger temptation. Just as eating food subsides the temptation to eat, in a similar manner, consuming the word of God, the living bread Jesus Christ, the temptation for us to sin loses its power.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
When we receive His word through faith, our faith becomes a channel, a portal for the divine Holy Spirit of God to flow into our hearts, putting to death the old man who use to practice sin, and bringing to life our once dead spirit. We no longer have a desire to live in our past sinful desires, but through the process of sanctification by His Spirit, we learn to walk as Jesus walked, living for righteousness through faith. This is when we become born from above:
Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ (John 3:5-7).
In this life, before receiving the Spirit of Christ, we chased the things of the world to satisfy our fleshly desires being carnally minded in nature, but they never truly satisfied. We were left living in a perpetual state of self destruction trying to fill an empty void within our soul in an attempt to cure sin with sin. This world provides for us a counterfeit hope of peace and joy, being fragile, that can be shattered at any moment by the world. What Jesus wants us to receive from Him is the eternal quench of the soul:
Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water (the Holy Spirit) that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13-14).
"If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:11-13).
It is through this process of truly believing in Jesus that we able to receive His Spirit, the comfortor, Who will help us along the way unto salvation. This isn't the finish line, but only the beginning:
"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12-13).
As a good father who only wants the best for their child, our fear to disobey because of the consequences is a good fear. Just as the fear you receive when you look over a very high cliff. Your natural reaction is to pull back to avoid death. This is the good fear we should have towards our Father in heaven Who truly wants the best for us above all. We live in a fallen world and thus the temptation to sin is lurking all around us. So our obedience to our heavenly Father helps guard us to what brings death to our souls:
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (Ephesians 6:10-11).
Continue on to read PART 2
of "What Does It Mean To Believe In Jesus?"