Today’s Scripture Focus: I John 5:9-15
“I believe you.” When we are sharing with someone, nothing can be more comforting than knowing we are being heard, understood, and believed. When someone says they believe us, what they really mean is “I believe in you.” Conversely, few things sting our ears and hearts like hearing “I don’t believe you”, especially from someone we love. When we tell someone we don’t believe them, the message we are giving is “you are a liar”, even if it’s not the message we intend. Few things make a person feel more alone, misunderstood, and worthless than to be pouring their heart out and to not be believed.
The theme of both John’s Gospel and his epistles is belief. John 20:31 says “these things are written that you may believe…” I John 5:13 echoes that— “I write these things to you who believe…” Believe what? Believe who? These questions are answered four times in I John 5. The what is answered in verses 1 and 5—we are to believe that Jesus is the Christ, and that Jesus is the Son of God. The who in answered in verses 10 and 13. We are to believe in the Son of God, and we are to believe in the name of the Son of God. So, we are to not only believe God’s testimony about Jesus, but we are to believe in Jesus—to hear, understand, and trust.
When we believe, we have eternal life. Remember that in John’s writings, eternal doesn’t just refer to quantity but to quality. Eternal life is not just something that starts after our earthly bodies die. Eternal life starts right now for those who believe, because we are able to have intimacy with God through belief in Jesus’ name. To pray “in the name of Jesus” is not a magic formula that obligates God to do our bidding. When we pray in the name of Jesus, we are saying “I believe that Jesus’ name is trustworthy—He is not a liar and when He says He will do what is best for me, I believe it. So, I want what God wants for me and that’s all.”
It has fallen out of favor in recent days to refer to Christians as “believers”. It is much more popular to say we are “disciples”. Belief seems passive, while discipleship implies action. Yet, we cannot follow what we do not believe! John writes that we can have confidence that our prayers are heard and our life is eternal if we simply believe. This allows us to not only have a close relationship with God, but with other believers as we pray for them. Wouldn’t it be great if God’s children today earned the right to be called “believers” again—to have hurting people say “those people not only believe in God; they believe in me!”
- Go around the table and share prayer requests. Have someone lead in prayer.
- Let everyone who would like to share anything exciting from their week.
- Ask these three questions. Let as many answer each one as they would like.
How many times do you find the word “believe” or some form of it in I John 5?
Most Americans (90% according to some recent polls) would say they believe in God. Are most of them living like they believe?
When you pray this week, how would it change your attitude in prayer to know that God believes you (you are heard and understood) and believes in you (God loves you and will do what is best for you)? This is what it means to pray in the name of Jesus.