Friday, July 31, 2009

Beyond Belief

Some of us have been referred to as a “Doubting Thomas” at least once during the course of our lives. No, this isn’t the name of a TV character, like “Curious George,” or an athlete like “Shoeless Joe” but instead, one of Jesus’ greatest friends and followers, or disciple! John 20: 19-29 paints a vivid picture of how belief in Christ not only provides joy but also, peace and responsibility!

It was just a few days after God had proven His love in the way that only He could, through Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection three days later. Jesus’ disciples were hunkered down in a room, fearful of anyone who may connect them with Christ who just sent the world spinning on its axis, changing the course of that present day and the generations to follow! Jesus appeared to them, reminding them that He brings peace (and wasn’t an evil spirit as they may have assumed at first) as well as a mandate to share God’s love with the world! He breathed on them and they received the gift of the Holy Spirit, which would direct them as they went out to fulfill Jesus calling on their lives. Of course, this must have been more than amazing, but Thomas, who must have been getting a Slurpy at the local quickie mart, was absent from this life changing moment. When told of the events of those moments, he refused to believe until he himself saw the scars in Jesus’ hands and sides. Probably rolling His eyes, Jesus obliged Thomas unbelief and came back a week later, directly addressing Thomas and asking him to put his hands in His side and to look at His hands. Jesus then said, “Stop being an unbeliever and believe!” John 20:27. Somehow, I don’t think Jesus just said this quietly and passively, but I believe that Jesus said it with authority and power! It was crucial that Thomas believe, or else, Jesus would not have come back in similar fashion to address the group of followers.

Later on, Jesus reminds us that “those who believe without seeing me will be truly blessed” and that is where we come in! We don’t have the opportunity to get the proof that Thomas demanded. He didn’t take what he heard from his trusted friends at face value. That was a time of such confusion and only when he could see for himself that Jesus was risen as He had said He would be, could Thomas fully embrace the calling to share the Gospel that had now been fulfilled!
Where are you? Do you claim faith in Christ, but just sit still, allowing those who have “true faith” to run with the ball of sharing Christ? Do you find joy in the mystery of believing in something that we cannot see? Do you embrace fully what it means to have faith in what we can only see through study of God’s Word, thus, becoming so intimately connected to God in prayer and life that we have no doubt that the spirit has in fact been breathed into us as well?

Embrace the joy from the belief in a Savior who lived as one of us! Claim the power that comes from the God who sent himself to develop a relationship with His people, knowing that we all yearn to be connected to beauty and positive energy that can only truly be found in the person of Christ and through His spirit. Be joyful in life and even more joyful in where God is leading your life, knowing that as our faith grows, so will God continue to pour out more of his power and His blessing as we serve Him and share the love of Christ with everyone we meet! Don’t be a doubting Thomas, waiting to begin serving after you have proof; serve with full assurance that Jesus has breathed on you the Spirit that only comes from God and has equipped you to share Him with the world!

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