Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ[a] has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. 2 We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. 3 Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. 5 And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. (1 John 5:1-5) NLT
Being a Christ follower requires such faith! It is one thing to believe there is a God, it is totally an act of faith to believe that I am his child. Believing Jesus is his child, that I can believe! But me? Sinful, broken, imperfect me? It took a long time to grasp that.
My journey with God has been a process to deepen my faith. It seems like he patiently led me from one step to the next. I know some people have experiences where God changes them instantaneously. That was not what he chose for me. It was a very big step to believe I was his child. That was no easy feat! I knew what the bible said, I’d memorized the verses, heard sermons, and did multiple bible studies. I had accepted Christ; I had all the head knowledge. But I had so much shame and brokenness in me, it took many years for him to get under all the layers of walls I had built up around my heart. One by one they came down. Then he had to put all the shattered pieces of my heart back together. I had so many people pour into me over the years, but I liken it to pouring water into a cracked cistern. The water drains out and the pot is never full. He continued to pour love into me. He let me go at my speed until the time came I knew. I knew deep in my soul that he loved me and I was his. I knew because of his consistency. I learned to trust him. I learned to believe I am who he says I am because he is who he says he is. I knew I was his adopted child.
It is really hard to give to others what I do not have. I am only able to give love and serve his children because of his constant love for me. I am able to obey his commands because I trust his goodness. They aren’t burdensome commands—they are life saving. I realize I live in an evil world—that has not changed in all these years since John penned those words. I have an enemy who is out to destroy me. It truly is my faith in Jesus as my savior that enables me to have any victory over that enemy. I have had to learn to dig deep inside of me to find that faith. I have had to believe him and know his voice over the voice of the deceiver.
20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life.21 Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts. (1 John 5:20-21) NLT
I still don’t always get it right. I can easily turn to the right or the left unless I am intentionally staying in daily relationship with God. There is so much in this world that seems like it might fulfill me. In those times of emptiness, it really takes calling on the Holy Spirit. I can never let my guard down for without the Spirit, my flesh is weak.
Lord, I thank you for the patience you have with me. You gave me enough light to take the next step in our journey together. There were times that was the only light I saw—I was surrounded by darkness. But as time passed and my trust grew, I was able to look back and see how far we’ve come together. You are my loving Father, and I am your dearly loved child. Help me love others as you have loved me. In Jesus name, Amen