Summary: Its not WHAT I believe in, it is WHO I place my faith in. WHO I place my faith in is stronger, for Jesus is able to overcome what I am not able to overcome.
Belief is a powerful thing. What I believe in makes me who I am, I am what I believe.
What we believe molds us into who we are; What we believe colors our view of the world around us; What we believe motivates us to stand up for something or stand up against something.
What we believe in may have more of a profound effect on our lives, than anything else we experience.
What we believe in can have a very positive effect on our life, or it can cause us to be bitter and unforgiving.
Take the Grinch for example, from Dr Seuss’s children’s Christmas tale. We all know the story: The Grinch wants to stop Christmas, and so he steals everything from every house in Who-ville, but the Grinch cannot stop Christmas, can he? In spite of the Grinch taking every item he could, Christmas still came, and this puzzled the Grinch.
Dr. Seuss tells us that the Grinch:
... he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn’t come from a store.
"Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"
The Grinch’s life changes dramatically. He goes from a hated villain to a beloved father figure in one fell swoop. The Grinch has a powerful change in his life….but really, only one small thing changed in his life - what he believed in.
This one small thing, belief, had a greater effect on the Grinch than anything else.
Now, its true, ’How The Grinch Stole Christmas’ is only a Children’s tale, but it does point to the reality of the power of belief in our lives, does it not?
Let me ask you this: If I believe in something strong enough, does my belief somehow shape the resulting situation, the resulting reality, the resulting event?
Belief is a very powerful thing; where do we place our faith?
Years ago I worked for a department store chain in the San Francisco Bay Area. Now, a department store doesn’t work by a sales associate going go out to find customers, no no no, in a department store, a sales associate’s fortunes rises and fall upon waiting for the customer to come to him. You don’t go out to find sales, you must wait for the sales to come to you. So, the chain would run promotions to get people in their stores.
One year we had a Christmas Teddy Bear as a promotion, it was this pure white, fuzzy little bear with a Santa hat on top. For every $199 a customer spent they would receive one Christmas Teddy Bear. We literally had truckloads of these bears arrive everyday. Thousands upon thousands of bears were stocked in our store.
Now this Christmas Teddy Bear promotion was all about belief. We were to believe that the Christmas Teddy Bear was the answer to our sales prayers.
The sales associates, were all told that customers would come rushing in to get their hands on these sweet little bears. We were told that we needed plenty of bears on hand because the bears were going to go fast. The management hyped the Christmas Teddy Bear promotion as an absolute genius promotion that would make us all rich, RICH, RICH!
So….if I believe that the Christmas Teddy Bear is going to bring in customers, will it bring in customers? Does my personal belief, somehow, bring in those customers? Does my personal belief, somehow influence the situation, effect the situation, or shape the situation at hand?
Well, if that is so, then our belief in the bears was pretty weak, for we had an over abundance of Teddy Bears stuffed in every nook and cranny, we stuffed them here, we stuffed them there - everywhere you went little white bears stared at you. By the week of Christmas we were giving them away free with every purchase and we still had thousands and thousands left by New Years.
Is this logic true….
I believe I am successful – therefore I am successful.
I believe I will prevail – therefore I prevail.
I believe in God – therefore there is a God.
If I believe in something strong enough, does my belief somehow shape the resulting situation, reality, event?
When you and I believe, what does it mean?
[Click Slide] Let’s turn to our Scripture this evening, 1 John 1:1-4.
These first four verses of the book of 1 John, they are one long and very complicated single sentence, instead of the three sentences you see here. This is a very difficult sentence to translate from the Greek into English. In many English translations, work very hard in an attempt to have this sentence make sense in English. What we have here is very difficult and very complex. But because of the complexity here, we have great insight into the meaning of faith.