Thought for the Day: Paul was still in Philippi when his jailer asked the question, “What must I do to be saved?” Or it could be translated, “What must I do to be made whole?” Now those who have been following my writings for a while will recognize these next comments as I repeat them often, but the word “believe,” which was the answer Paul and Silas gave to the jailer, is a complicated word. We asked, “Do you believe the Texans have a chance of going to the Super Bowl?” We might believe it, and they have some good players, but is the NFL going to even play games this year? And even the most knowledgeable sports commentators are rarely correct in their predictions. At times, we use the word in place of wishful thinking. It can also be used in place of “knowing” something factual, as in the case of saying, “I believe in gravity.” Yet believing or not believing has no impact on you or gravity. The Greek word translated as believe is Pisteuo, which carries with it a sense of fidelity, trust and love. This is why I tend to translate the word as belove instead of believe, which is closer to how some have translated it over the years. Western Christianity has tended to make believing into an intellectual exercise from which it made rules and created required doctrine. To belove something is to be driven by that which is greater than rules and requirements. You cannot force or indoctrinate someone into beloving Jesus. It happens as we are wooed by the beauty of God’s love, and at some point there is a vulnerability to that love and to the ways of love. I don’t intend to be rude here, but I hear a lot of people claim to believe in Jesus, but there lives sure do not appear to belove him or what he taught.
Prayer: Provide me a few intentional moments with your love, O Lord, so that I am reminded of its magnificence and unconditional nature. Allow it to seize me and fill me. It is my desire to fall in love with you all over again this day, to do so in such a way that the bond of trust and the spirit of fidelity shape how I live and interact with those around me. Amen.
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