“Belief in Jesus is not an academic exercise but is the lived experience of the life of God.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – October 13, 2022
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1 John 4:16, ESV
Belief separated from encounter is a far cry from the fullness of life that our Lord longs for us to experience. Yes, belief is important, yet when abstracted from love it fails to grasp the heart of the matter and the reason we believe in the first place! In fact, for the Christian, “Do you believe in God?” should be an increasingly alien and confusing question.
By way of illustration, let me offer a simple example from my life as a parent. My children love ice cream. Few things excite them more than the prospect of a scoop in a waffle cone at our local ice cream shoppe. For them, ice cream lives at the level of desire. I ask them, “Do you want to go get ice cream?” If I were to say, “Do you believe in ice cream?”, they would look at me with the most quizzical of expressions! Ice cream isn’t something they principally encounter at the level of belief, at least in an intellectual sense. It is a belief animated by love and shaped by experience.
St. John encountered the embodiment of the love and goodness of God in the person of Jesus Christ, and this love left him transformed in every way. His belief in Jesus as the Son of God was not an academic exercise but was the lived experience of the life of God. In Jesus he found a way of life in which he longed to remain, to abide in love just as God abides in him. In this way, John echoes David’s words from the Psalms, reminding us to “taste and see that the Lord is good!” (Psalm 34:8).
If your belief in God lives entirely in your head and fails to move your heart, you have fundamentally misunderstood the kind of relationship God longs to have with you. It should be noted that Jesus instructed his followers in each and every generation to gather in his name around a meal. Just as he shared bread and wine with his disciples, he invites us to do the same, tasting his goodness and seeing him as he reveals himself in the breaking of bread (Luke 24:35).
Father, may our hearts burn within us, filled with the fire of your love, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayerfully pursue the lived experience of the Lord this week, abiding in him as he abides in you.
John 15:1-27; Galatians 2:20; 2 John 1:9
Audrey Assad: Abide With Me
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