How to Believe. Jesus said a lot of amazing things about belief. He said with belief in him we could move mountains because with him nothing was impossible. James added that we could have wisdom if only we believed. But how do I believe? How do I move beyond doubt to trust?
Belief is born in need. John 4:47 “When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son; for he was at the point of death.” If you have no need to believe, then you will not believe.
The official’s son was sick and dying. Out of sheer panic and fear, the man begged Jesus to heal his son. Here was a man in desperate need, and it was because of his desperation that he was ready to trust in Jesus’ ability to heal his son. If you have no need to believe, you will not believe.
God is in the business of putting his children in holes so deep that they can’t get out without his help. What is your need right now? Whatever it is, rejoice. That’s God’s hole, and while you’re in it, God is going to teach you how to believe.
Belief is nurtured in Christ. Whether or not your belief grows depends on the object of that belief. And if it’s anchored in the wrong object, belief will sink and drown. So when you’re in a hole, make sure you reach out to Christ. Are you hurting? In doubt? Struggling? Go to him. That’s how your belief will be nurtured. John 14:12 teaches that “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” Belief will not grow unless the object of that belief is Jesus Christ.
Belief grows in faith. John 4:50 “Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.” Jesus healed the official’s son, and the man responded in faith. Then “Jesus replied, ‘You may go, Your son will live.’ The man took Jesus at his word and departed.” The official accepted what Jesus said about reality even when he didn’t yet know firsthand the reality for himself.
You say you believe? How much are you willing to bet on that belief? Your money, your life, your relationships, your family, your friends? Without risk, there can be no belief. When Jesus told the man who had been sick for a number of years, “Take up thy bed, and walk” John 5:11, the man could have said, “Are you out of your mind? I can’t walk.” And he would have remained cripple. When Peter and John were at the temple with the lame beggar calling out to them, Peter healed the beggar with, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk” Act 3:6. What if the beggar had said, “I don’t believe you. Go away?” If he had done that, he would have stayed at the temple gate begging until the day he died.
In a society that praises strength, it’s very hard for us to boast of our weaknesses. And yet, as paradoxical as it may sound, when it comes to faith, we’re at our strongest when we’re at our weakest. Are you feeling vulnerable, weak, afraid to risk? Great! You’re in the perfect place for God to work his best. Just keep believing in him, relying on him to do what you feel unable to handle. He’ll come through. You’ll see. (S. Brown)