In the words of one of my favorite musical groups in high school – Journey – “Don’t Stop Believing!” Except rather than believing for emotion and a “feeling” as they sang about, let us believe God and His Word and receive the manifestation of His promises as tangible realities in our every day life. Let us continue to see Jesus before us and believe upon Him and His finished work on the cross that freed us from the curse and gave us access to the throne room of God. Don’t stop believing upon Jesus in your mind…let go of all those wearisome and burdensome thoughts and lies of the enemy and receive, instead, the word of the Lord for life.
I am continually encouraged to hear of the testimonies that keep coming in of God’s love and faithfulness as you are continuing to believe (agree with AND rely on) His Word. I know I said that in the beginning of last week’s email, but since then, I’ve had 2 more testimonies come in from people who have been believing God in a particular area…I think there have been at least 5-6 I can think of specifically in the area of employment alone within these past few months. Some have been regarding new jobs, pay raises, new perks within the same company…God’s faithfulness continues to pour out upon us through His grace, and He is no respecter of persons. His Word remains true for all, and ANYONE who believes upon Jesus receives! (Mark 11:23-24)
We discussed the “process” of believing last week in class as we looked at the example given to us through the Samaritan woman at the well. I encourage you to watch last week’s teaching if you missed it and to take notes as I went through many of the things we can often experience in the process of believing upon Jesus as He is presenting Himself to us…We saw that it took some uprooting of things in her thinking and some redirecting to truth at her core, but through conversation with Jesus (just as we have with Him today in the scriptures), she was set free! The conversation between Jesus and this woman who would have been considered at the very “bottom of the bottoms” continued long enough for Jesus to reveal Himself to her as Messiah and she accepted Him. It was at that moment of acknowledging and seeing Jesus as Messiah that she was set free! First on the inside, and then on the outside!!
She was likely freed from the emotions that held her back in life and kept her facing the same broken circumstances over and over…she was broken on the inside, so her life continued to be broken on the outside. Jesus set her free from self condemnation and worthlessness and came to a woman who would have been considered as a woman of inferior status. According to historians, it was most often the young, strong women in the household that came to the well to draw water, and she wasn’t in this category. She was older, married 5 times, and now with another man she wasn’t married to. This was a picture of her not having provision or covering in her life…likely no one was caring for her. The man she was with when Jesus met her may have even been someone else’s husband…we don’t know the details, but we do know that Jesus was more concerned with getting a hold of her heart than he was about any of it!
He came to this older, lower class woman, and introduced Himself as the “gift of God”…she didn’t see him that way initially, but she soon through this conversation, came to receive that gift of God and realized he came for her, and to give to HER…it was never about the water she could give him out of the well.
She may have come at the later hour because it was a time less likely to have had other people there at the well…she may have had embarrassment, insecurity, and was certainly in the middle of sin…but when she met the Messiah face to face and He revealed Himself to her, her heart was open and she received Him. Then she RAN into town in front of everyone!!!!
My oh my how we change once Jesus gets a hold of us on the inside!!! What this woman likely had once feared (the townspeople), she went running toward full speed! How we believe in our hearts – about Jesus, about ourselves, about others – influences what we do greatly. This woman considered insignificant to many was shown great value by Jesus, and she went down in history as having the longest recorded conversation in the whole bible with Jesus. A woman who was likely full of much shame was forever changed by the Messiah, and everyone began to see her in a whole new way. She saw the message she had received from the Lord as being of value, and she also saw herself as having value in carrying that message. Others listened to what she had to say, and as John 4:39 tells us, “many believed in him because of the woman’s testimony.”
That’s what happens when we get Jesus inside our heart!! She hadn’t listened to hours of sermons; she hadn’t confessed scriptures; but she HAD met with the Messiah face to face and that’s what believing is all about!!
Prayer is about meeting with God face to face in conversation. We have access to The Father through the Son, so it always begins with seeing Jesus (the Word, the scriptures) and holding Him in our heart, and He brings us before the Father (they are of course united together as one). Know that when we read the bible, have a prayer confession sheet, attend church – whatever it is we do in our Christian life to “grow up into Christ” (Eph 4:15) – our primary target is to simply be rooted and established and to continue to be rooted and established in Christ and to see him as the Messiah – the anointed one (chosen by God and equipped) who came to save us!
Paul preached the same message everywhere he went – Jesus Christ – and that He rose from the dead. His message never got more complicated; he didn’t have a wide variety of sermons; He simply continued to tell people about Christ. Now certainly followers had questions about life and behaviors and he addressed those, and most of what we read in the bible are letters he wrote in response to those questions to help people with those areas they had question about. But the message He preached and what He continually held in front of Him was always the same and it was simple – He thought about, spoke about and revealed Jesus Christ.
Remember, Jesus says the “work” is in believing upon Him…(John 6:29) so the place for us to invest our highest level of energy in our thoughts and in our prayer life, is to simply meditate upon Him. He tells us this will be where we have the greatest “work” (effort, occupation, act, doing, labor). This isn’t because of God making anything hard for us; it isn’t because Jesus is hiding Himself from us; on the contrary, God tells us to approach His throne of grace with boldness and confidence (Heb 4:16)…God always welcomes us into His presence and desires to have conversation with us.
Believing upon Jesus is only “work” because of the lies of the enemy, the old nature of the flesh, and the deceitful way of the world that wants to influence our thinking.
Jesus says in Matthew 11:30: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Jesus came to give us rest for our weary souls, not to create more burden for us. He came to ALLEVIATE stress and burden from us, and we experience that relief the more and more we look upon Him and see His great love for us.
God is gentle and humble in heart…He always has His best in mind for you (Psalm 32:8). Give yourself some extra time today to have some face to face conversation with Him. Jesus will bring you right into the heart of The Father, and the Holy Spirit will help bring you to Jesus and to put your mind on Him.
Father God, I thank you for the great value you placed on my life in sending your son, Jesus, for me. I receive Jesus as the gift He is to me, and I receive your Holy Spirit as the living water within me. I thank you that out of my belly springs forth your rivers of life. I thank you that you have delivered me from all shame and condemnation. I thank you that you have delivered me from man’s influence on how I see myself based on my past failures, as well as my successes. Jesus, I believe you are the Messiah, the anointed one who God chose and equipped to provide me with salvation. I receive you, Jesus, as Messiah, and as the gift of God. I receive you in my heart, my soul, my mind and even in my physical body. I receive The Father’s gift of salvation to me through you. I receive you as the gift of deliverance, protection, preservation, restoration, cure and wholeness in my life. In you, I am made well. Thank you for valuing my life and for having conversation with me and for continuing to reveal yourself to me more and more. In Your Name, Jesus, I believe and receive you. Amen.