“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms . . .”
Friend to Friend
God speaks to me in the comics. I know. That’s weird. But He does.
Pickles comic strip features an older couple named Earl and Pearl Pickles. One day Earl and Pearl were sitting on a porch swing and the following conversation ensued.
Frame one: Pearl, “Did you know the DNA of humans and chimpanzees is 98 percent the same?”
Frame two: Earl, “I know it but I don’t believe it.”
Frame three: Pearl, “You know it, but you don’t believe it?”
Frame four: Earl, Yes, “I don’t believe everything I know.”
And there you have it! In the wise words of Earl Pickles, our problem is that we don’t really believe everything we know. We go to Bible studies year after year, hear sermons Sunday after Sunday, and read books page after page.
But until we move from knowing to believing, we’re going to be stuck in the mediocre, mundane, milquetoast faith that expects little and receives even less.
Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). The Greeks had many words for our one word know. The Greek word used here is ginosko. In the New Testament it frequently indicates a relationship between the person “knowing” and the object known. It is more than head knowledge of the truth, but believing the truth and applying it to your life in action. There is a sense in which true knowledge (of God) leads to action in keeping with obedience.
My devotions lately have focused on our true identity in Christ. Those accumulated verses about my identity in Christ were not new to me when I made my initial list. Perhaps they were not new to you either.
I had read them scattered through Scripture before, and had even memorized a few. But I didn’t truly believe them. Not really. I would have never admitted that to anyone—not even to myself. I’d smile and say amen with the best of them. But when the rubber of the truth hit the road of adversity, I moved those verses into the category of nice gestures on God’s part, rather than the truth that could set me free and give me victory to overcome.
Jesus said this about the Pharisees: “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:39–40). These guys studied the Scriptures in minute detail. They knew the Scriptures inside and out, every jot and tittle, dot and dash. However they did not believe the truth that would have set them free and given eternal life—the Truth that was standing right in front of them.
Paul wrote to the Ephesians: “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms . . .” (Eph. 1:18–20, emphasis added).
You were saved when you believed—past tense. You have great power when you believe—present tense. Believe what? When you believe that God is Who He says He is, and that you are who God says you are. When you believe the promises of God, the power of God, and the provision of God in your life. When you not only know the Truth, but believe the Truth.
The Greek word for believe used in Ephesians 1:18 is a present active participle. Don’t let that little English lesson make you nervous. It just means it is a continuous action verb. It is applied to those who are presently, actively, and yes, continually believing God.
If you feel your walk has become a crawl, your faith has faltered, your fire for God is smoldering, perhaps what will reignite your passion is a decision to believe what God said is true for you and about you. Just because God spoke a promise does not mean you automatically posses the promise. You must let go of unbelief and take hold of the promise with the grip of belief to make it yours.
Heavenly Father, I have head knowledge about the Bible, but I’ll admit, I don’t always believe what I know. Show me truths that I have not moved from my head to my heart. Show me in my deepest parts the areas where I would quickly say that I believe, but I truly don’t. Help me to show that I do believe by my actions and my choices.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Go back and read Ephesians 1:13 and notice the verb tense of believe. Is it past, present, or future?
Now go back and read today’s truth, Ephesians 1:18-20. Is it past, present, or future?
As a review, what difference does the verb tense make?
It is easy to believe what Jesus says about Himself (I am the light of the world. John 8:12) But do you believe what Jesus says about you? (You are the light of the world. Matthew 5:14)
So, let’s answer the question together. Do you believe that God tells the truth? Click over to my Facebook page and let’s give God a big Facebook praise! If you believe…present tense believing…that you are who God says you are and can do what God says you can do, leave a message and say, “I’m taking hold of who God says that I am and what God says I can do!”
More from the Girlfriends
Today’s devotion was taken from my new book, Take Hold of the Faith you Long For: Let God, Move Forward, Live Bold. A mediocre, mundane faith is not your destiny! In Take Hold of the Faith You Long For, I reveal the most common reasons we get stuck in our Christian faith. I show you how to break free of all that holds you back, move forward with all that God promises, and live the adventurous faith of bold believing. It’s time to leave behind feelings of inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy that hold you hostage and take hold of the mountain-moving faith God intends. Let’s uncover untapped sources of confidence and courage, and see how to move from simply knowing the truth to actually living it out boldly in a life marked by true freedom and expectancy. It’s time to get UNSTUCK. Click on the book cover to discover free bonuses when you order before May 1, 2016.