“Now this is his command: that we believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another as he commanded us.”
1 John 3:23
Doubt and Belief
Think about a time when someone asked you if you believe something. Not in the can-you-believe-that-happened?! kind of way, but in the do-you-believe-this-is-true? sort of way. It can evoke a swift pendulum swinging internally towards confidence or doubt, depending on what “this” is referring to.
Looking closer at today’s Scripture passage, we see that “we” (AKA believers or Christ-followers) are instructed to “believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ.” And that’s a command.
Truth and Feeling
How does that make you feel when you read that command? Are you confident of this truth, or do you find yourself doubting? The good news is it doesn’t matter how you feel in order for it to be true! Of course, we all want the feeling of confidence. (And we can get there when we put our weight on Him and allow the Holy Spirit to work!) But what an amazing blessing—and weight lifted—when we realize that our belief does not have to get tangled up in our feelings or emotions.
A belief is a choice we make. We either believe or we don’t. And our belief—or disbelief—in something does not change the truth.
The Order of Operations
In 1 John 3:23, God clearly gives these two commands: 1) believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ; and 2) love one another. As straight forward and simple as these commands sound, they are in this specific order for a specific reason. We can not accomplish the second command without obeying the first. Another weight lifted! God is reminding us to let Him do the heavy-lifting.
When we believe and obey Him, He equips us with the Holy Spirit who has access to every tool necessary to do anything else He calls us to…including loving one another. And that’s a command.
Think about someone in your life who may be hard to love at times (or all the time). It’s likely exhausting just thinking about loving them in your own flesh, but it doesn’t have to be that way—nor did the Lord ever intend for it to be. Start today by asking God to help correct any areas of unbelief you may have about His Son, and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you in uncovering areas of your life where you haven’t relinquished control to Him. Ask Him to open your eyes to His way of loving those around you. He will be faithful to do it and to equip you.