“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1:15
Why would Jesus have to preach that people SHOULD believe the good news? If it’s good news, wouldn’t it be something people would WANT to believe?
But believing is hard. Because true belief means you change your life.
If you believe there’s a fire coming, you pack your things and get out of the house. My father just went through this. There was a fire only a mile from his house. They had their car packed and ready to go.
They believed the disaster was coming, but how many people think that the disaster is not going to affect them? How many people tried to sit out some of the devastating recent hurricanes?
All through history the Israelites didn’t really believe that disaster would come if they kept on sinning. Moses warned them, “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed.” Deut 8:17-19
Which brings us to the chief culprit when it comes to disbelief — PRIDE. We begin think it’s all about us, and we forget how much of it is about God.
True belief requires humility.
If we truly believe, we have to believe that God’s in control, not us. God has the power, not us. God gets the credit, not us.
I got with someone yesterday who is struggling in her faith. She was perceptive enough to see that her pride is the reason she is struggling. She can see that she has started to want God on her terms. She’s started having an attitude with God if He can’t answer all her questions.
And God doesn’t give us an answer to all our questions. His thoughts are not our thoughts. He says, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?“ Job 38:2 When we question him, we speak words without knowledge. When we think we know better than God, we obscure His plans. Job finally realizes, “I have stated things I didn’t understand, things too mysterious for me to know.. . .” Job 42:3
I just listened to a great lesson on pride by Jon Sherwood. Check it out. Nebuchadnezzar: A Proud King
So we have to stay humble. Here’s the realization we have to come to. GOD — WHO HE IS AND WHAT HE’S DONE — IS THE VERY BEST “GOOD NEWS.”
This week there was a huge Facebook discussion going on concerning whether the gospel is really good news or not. The question was asked, “How can the gospel be good news if the majority of people aren’t going to be saved?”
Here is part of my answer:
“All through time, from Noah to the history of the Israelites, God gave people chance after chance and they didn’t just sin a little, they sinned big time, embracing idolatry, injustices, etc. So God implemented plan in place whereby he would atone for our sin with his son, where he would put his law in our hearts (Jer 31:33), where he swore never to be angry again (Isa 54:9). He gave us his righteousness. (2 Cor 5:21) The Holy Almighty bent over backwards, and then some, to help us out of our sinful predicament. If this isn’t good news, I don’t know what is!”
Writing this reminded me that what I have is GOOD NEWS. Sometimes I forget now good it is. True belief is seeing that we DO have good news.
I’m studying the Bible with someone right now, and I’ve been reluctant to talk to her about life changes she needs to make. They’re big uncomfortable ones. I keep thinking about what she has to give up.
But what I am giving her is so much more! We studied the cross, and I remembered the vast scheme of God to exert His divine power, stretch and reach out to man time and time again, give His very best.
I watched a video this morning that illustrates this so much. It’s about a guy who met and studied the Bible with someone. This person became a Christian, and went on to meet a wonderful young woman and get married. I thought, “This is what I’m doing — helping people write wonderful stories for their lives.” Check out this video here
We can help write wonderful stories for people, and for ourselves. The irony is, that we do this by NOT focusing on writing it ourselves. If I seek to craft a wonderful life for myself, I will fail. But if I serve God, and seek to glorify Him through helping others, the wonderful story is the result. THAT is good news!!
We lose our lives to gain them. We humble ourselves and He lifts us up. In closing, here are some scriptures on being poor in spirit that have helped me to gain a better perspective.
- These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word. Is 66:2
- The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit Ps 34:8
- And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
- My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. Ps 51:17
- Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel gathered around me because of this unfaithfulness of the exiles. And I sat there appalled until the evening sacrifice. Ezra 9:4
- Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before God when you heard what he spoke against this place and its people, and because you humbled yourself before me and tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the LORD. II Chron 34:27