This is the heart of Jesus's message: "Trust what I have done for you. Act as if it were true, because it is!"

What Do You Mean When You Say You Believe?

Sunday Scripture

Ready or not, soon we will be immersed in Christmas scenes and memes, countdowns and shopping guides, and among them will be the exhortation to believe in the magic of Christmas. Every year, snowy backdrops and Santa hats inspire us with the single word: Believe…

John’s Gospel sets the word believe on center stage, especially when compared to his Gospel-writing colleagues. Mark uses the word thirteen times, Matthew nine times, and Luke only seven, while John uses the verb believe over ninety times in his Gospel. John 3:16 is likely the most familiar usage, but here’s another:

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.”

John 14:1

Here we see Jesus exhorting his disciples, in the face of some unsettling news about his departure, to let their behavior and emotions be impacted by their belief. Easier said than done for most of us descendants of Eve, and yet it’s clear that this is the heart of Jesus’s message: “Trust what I have done for you. Act as if it were true, because it is!”

This is the heart of Jesus’s message: “Trust what I have done for you. Act as if it were true, because it is!”

John sees to it that we have all the information we need to trust that Jesus is the Son of God, and he makes his purpose in writing and in choosing his material crystal clear:

But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

John 20:31
This is the heart of Jesus's message: "Trust what I have done for you. Act as if it were true, because it is!"

So, tell me: How does what you believe about Jesus line up with your daily rhythms of life? Does your belief make a difference in your choice of words? Your emotional climate? Your use of time and resources? How can I pray for you along these lines today?

Thankful for “life in his name,”

Michele Morin

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64 thoughts on “What Do You Mean When You Say You Believe?”

  1. Michele, those are thought provoking questions that I’ll be thinking on today. I pray and hope my believing in Jesus has not only impacted my life, but also those around me each day. May I live each day in such a way to honor Him. Blessings!

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  2. Strong belief has taken time to develop in my life. Too often in my younger days I allowed worry to supersede my faith. But time in God’s Word, sentence prayers throughout the day, and learning to practice his presence (still learning!), have strengthened my foundation. Also, experience is a great teacher. Again and again God has provided for us, protected us, and blessed us beyond expectation. Belief in Jesus does indeed lead to life–eternal life to come and the abundant, God-enhanced life now. Hallelujah!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My belief means that I navigate through my life trying to walk the path that Jesus lays out for me. Sometimes I get it right…sometimes I find myself bushwhacking through the wood having lost my way. Jesus always shows me the way back even though I was the one that strayed to begin with.

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  4. Believe….is different as an adult than a child because seeing the magic of Christmas and the story is glittery. When an adult, we realize we are meant to mean our belief, try to navigate it, and stay on course. However, nice to have a Godly God and Jesus who saved us by Grace. We all fall short, but even though the path is narrow, I believe He helps to keep us on track. The Holy Ghost is kind of like the new cars that will beep when we stray a bit out of our lane.

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  5. I learned something (as usual) from this post. I had no idea John used the word “believe” much more than the other Gospel writers. My beliefs have evolved over time, which I think is a good thing. As I grow older (and wiser?) I grow closer to God and have a better grasp of exactly what I believe.

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  6. I recently was reading Eph. 4:29 and reflecting on what unwholesome words might include, Michele. And there are so many possibilities! Your post is bringing that back to mind! I guess God wants to get a message across to me! Lol! Thanks for being His vessel in that pursuit!

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  7. Michele,
    I love how you point out that we have “all that we need” at our disposal. Our/my joy is then to make sure that my actions and words (and attitude) are lining up with what the “playbook” (Bible) tells me!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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  8. Wow over 90 times in John alone! I had no idea. “Act as if his words are true, because they are”. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve understood this better and tried to live that way…there’s still a way to go but each day I understand better. Thankful that God is patient.

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    1. I love that you have said “each day” you understand better. That’s a goal for me to set–a striving to come to the end of each day knowing and trusting God a bit better because of how he’s shown up and remained faithful.

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  9. Interesting to note how many times John uses “believe”! No wonder so many recommend starting there for people who are new to the Bible. Yes, thank God, that belief does make a difference–though I am still a work in progress with much room to grow. I was the first person saved in my family, and I’m sure my life would be a wreck without His intervention.

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  10. I love those thought provoking questions Michele;
    How does what you believe about Jesus line up with your daily rhythms of life?
    Does your belief make a difference in your choice of words?
    Your emotional climate?
    Your use of time and resources?”
    Yes, thought provoking!
    Blessings,
    Jennifer

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    1. The part about use of time is very convicting to me, Jennifer. I’m looking at my full calendar pages out of the corner of my eye even as I type this and thinking about how my daily routines need to reflect my choice to believe.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. “Act as if it were true, because it is!” Oh yes, Michele! How much less troubled would our hearts be right now if we were able to fully grasp even a fraction of what is true about God and what He’s done for us. Like other commenters, I didn’t realize how much John focused on “believe” in his gospel. I will certainly be on the lookout for that on my next journey through the book. 🙂

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  12. Michele, I had to smile when I read about how soon Christmas scenes, music, thoughts, will be coming out in this topsy-turvy year. Just an hour ago, I was thinking about how I would soon be switching to my instrumental Christmas playlist on Spotify. 🙂

    Anyway, I loved your words here. And this: ““Trust what I have done for you. Act as if it were true, because it is!”” Yes. We can always trust the Lord. We can unabashedly believe in Him because He is everything He says He is. What reassurance and confidence that offers.

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    1. I have a collection of Christmas cds that I look forward to playing every year (and dare I admit to some cassette tapes as well?). I guess I need to haul myself into the 21st century one of these days…

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  13. I love the definition of believe as “act as if it were true, because it is.” It’s very easy to say we believe something or to believe it in our minds, but not to act as if we truly believe it!

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  14. Thank you for sharing these insights Michele. Our belief should cause us to live differently and really be different. I saw your link on the You’re the Star blog hop today. Have a great week!

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  15. ********************************************************
    Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn
    ********************************************************

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Michele, just wanted you to know that your closing questions have been lingering in my mind and heart…I feel the challenge of this stage and age of my life is to get the things I KNOW to be true to filter down and hold my heart when my body seems less and less able to manage stressors without physical reactions to them…As roles of mother and daughter reverse with aging there’s plenty of place to practice the things that are true and unchanging! Thank-you for your encouragement by way of the Word!

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    1. Oh, you are walking on some rough ground these days. Be sure to take plenty of grace every day for the times when you disappoint yourself. I did a podcast interview just yesterday with Anita Ojeda discussing my days as a caregiver for my own mum, and it reminded me of how challenging those days were.
      Even so, there is grace for all of it, and I’m grateful that those questions got you pondering. They are pretty front-and-center for me, too as I’m well aware that I have been blessed beyond measure with opportunities to know and believe, but I certainly don’t live out even a fraction of it. Humbling…

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  17. Michele, fantastic post! Truly causes me to consider the things I do and say each day, just how much am I demonstrating my belief in Jesus’ words? Excellent questions to ponder. Thank you!!

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  18. Such an inspiring post! Yes, definitely – Act as if it were true, because it is! Thanks so much for linking up at our party – #FaithAndWorshipChristianWeekend 7. Shared.

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  19. Belief is invaluable right now in these uncertain times. I admit to feeling lost in the rules and regulations, with the constant negativity in the news but faith shines through if we allow it to. Thanks for linking up with #dreamteamlinky

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  20. Like so many others have said, I am surprised at how many times “believe” is used by John. “Trust what I have done for you. Act as if it were true, because it is!” What an amazing line! I can just see Jesus telling me to straighten up and trust what He has done for me! I am grateful for His grace and I pray my actions reveal what I believe about Jesus. Great post! Thanks for linking up at the #FaithAndWorshipChristianWeekend 7

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  21. I’m not religious but having lived in Dubai for the past 6 years I’ve learnt a lot about Jesus and how he is viewed in both christianity and islam. There is a belief in him in both religions but for different reasons. Thanks for joining in with #pocolo

    Like

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