As I ponder what it means to BELIEVE that Jesus is who he says, I am bombarded with emotion. First, I feel joy bubbling up from the deepest part of my being. He truly is who he says and he means what he says. I am rescued from darkness and secured for eternity! And I do a little dance around the kitchen!!
Right behind the joy, there is a sense of alarm. You see, I am reading a book entitled, “The God-shaped Brain.” It is fabulous and so intriguing. The author emphasizes how our beliefs not only inform our actions, but they impact which part of my brain works best and create pathways through that gray mass up there.
As I thought on that, I felt a sense of urgency to more carefully guard what I believe. Did you know that you don’t have to actually do something for it to impact your life? The same effect happens when you think it! Let me give you two examples. First, if a musician plays a piece of music in his mind, it will have the same impact as if he played it. Secondly, and Jesus said this, if a person thinks lustfully in her mind, it is the same as committing the act.
Astounding!! I cannot emphasize how important it is to guard your thoughts!
But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. 19And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. 20All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. 21But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.John 3:18-21
I will be honest. These verses have always bothered me. Perhaps I feel scolded when I read them. Whatever the case is, I want to see them in the way Jesus meant for me to understand. Applying my belief that Jesus is the Son of God and sent because I am deeply loved AND believing that Jesus did not come to condemn but to save AND believing there is no judgment against me when I believe — what is this saying to me?
Again, it is other reading that helped me cross this hurdle. I am also reading “Healing Care, Healing Prayer” to understand the journey from woundedness to wholeness. It is my experience and the position of this author that when we are wounded and hurting, we respond with dysfunctional behaviors that kill the pain, but are also most often sinful (evil). It is the design, desire and plan of the enemy (who is evil) to keep us in these behaviors, away from the light. At my darkest moments, I did not want to shine any light on what was going on inside. It was too scary. So, I hid. And the enemy helped me do that. He kept me afraid for a long time by affirming the shame I felt.
It was only when I came into the light that the darkness dissipated and I could see my way back into loving relationship with Jesus. Considering that Jesus was talking to Nicodemus, who was a religious leader and teacher, it is likely this had specific meaning to him. Sometimes it is religion that pushes me back into the darkness. The light is bright and we are accustomed to living in the shadows, if not the dark.
Jesus invitation of love is to come into the light. Don’t be afraid because, contrary to what the enemy is telling you, there is no judgment for those who believe! So grab my hand, let’s expose the lies and step into the light Jesus offers!!