The longer we analyze the current ways of operating, the further we fend off that awesome day when we will have to change something. Analysis thus becomes a defensive maneuver to avoid making fundamental change. Michael Hammer and Steven Stanton

So many Christians think that because they believe in the right God, they are automatically good and have a one-way ticket to everlasting life. Dare I say it, but I suspect this is their main reason for believing. I’ve heard so many ‘believers’ say, “Well, since there is no way of being sure whether there is a God or not, it’s better to believe in God than not, because that way, if you’re wrong it doesn’t matter and if you’re right you get everlasting life.” Win:win. Ricky Gervais

A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. William James

The Scriptures tell us a plain truth: “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31) The first step of faith is pretty easy and self-explanatory. At the same time, it is only the first step. Believe it or not, it can be dangerous to “just” believe in God. One needs to grow, move on, confront life and enter into a deeper relationship with him. Believers, in the end, only stagnate. Satan, in purest form, believes in Jesus; he knows who Jesus is, knows what he is all about—even met him face-to-face a few times. The great difference is that he does not give Jesus his allegiance; he doesn’t offer Him his life and his worship. With that, there is a great chasm. This is often where the believer can stand.

Are you just a believer? How would you know if you were? We can find a whole lot of “just believers” in the Bible: from Esau to Saul to Ananias and Sapphira. These are perfect examples of those who simply believed in God, but didn’t take it much farther than that. Again, in the New Testament, we find the perfect example and that is through Judas. By looking at his life, we can discover how not to be a follower of Jesus. Judas had little love and little dedication to Jesus. He wanted life his way. He wanted to hide what was really going on in his life. He lived a life of compromise. In living this way, tragically, he ended his own life with tremendous regret.

You have heard this before: it does not matter how you begin a race; the importance lies in how you finish. This is the danger that we face if we don’t take our relationship with God and move it further. It is a simple truth spoken throughout the Bible—God wants all or nothing. This is why it so crucial that when you give your life to God that you don’t stop there. The consequences are just too great. On that day of believing, the journey has just begun and we cannot forget that the great commission that Jesus challenged was to make followers—to make disciples (not believers) of all nations and tongues (Matthew 28: 16-20).

So with respect to this, there is an element in which our relationship with God is willed. Listen carefully to what St. Augustine said about this:

One can say: ‘I will, but my body does not obey me;’ but not: ‘My will does not obey me.’

In our life, we are continuously offered choices and in some respects “our will” is the chief character. It is no different than when we start a relationship with God—we make it happen with his help. Just as we had to make that decision to follow him, whether it was one Thursday night at a Bible study or at some tent revival, it is us who says yes. God never forces us to believe in him—He will never say this yes for us. I like the image and word that the Scripture offers; it says that God woos us (Isaiah 43:1-7). It shows him as being patient, and placing his affection in the midst of our lives—he gently and carefully moves into our lives. He wants to be known and to have the responsibility of loving and caring for us. But  again, he will never make the decision for us. He never forces himself into our lives. We must make the decision to love him back. Every day we must say yes to him. Yes to believing, yes to giving our lives to him, yes to obeying, yes to friendship. Every day we must learn how to say yes to him.

Next time, I will tell you a story from my own life when I finally said yes to him.

In: Friend to Jesus