What does believe mean when translated from the original Greek/Hebrew? The Amplified bible says to "cling to, trust in, adhere to, and rely on". We are saved when we cling to, trust in, adhere to, and rely on what Jesus has said and done for us.
It's so easy for many of us to just choose to believe (much like our kids believe that Santa Claus has a list and is checking it twice), but it's so much different to actually love Jesus and order our steps accordingly. It's not even something that we can choose to do per se. It takes God's love in us to love Jesus. I believed in Jesus a great while before I loved Him. Even now, my love for Jesus isn't as passionate as His love for me, but I trust in God as I walk with Him to change that. A great majority of us live as if this is the only life we have, when we're told we are only temporary residents here before we get home to spend eternity. Start letting God work in your heart, by reading His word and lifting up prayers of thanksgiving for what He's done and you have, while asking Him to come remove the things that hinder you from walking with Him. He'll gladly do it! Or alter that prayer to what you're currently comfortable with, the important thing is to start praying for more than what you want Him to do ;)
He doesn't come in and change our hearts, revealing all the lies we've believed about things, all at once b/c that would be like having 103 open heart surgeries at one time. He deals with things much more gentle than that, in whatever way is best for us, b/c His love for us is so great. He continually speaks to us to get us to remove the filth from our hearts before the day comes where we no longer have that chance. He sees us in our glorious redeemed state and calls that out of us, as we seek Him, but He will never force Himself on us. He gives us free will out of His immense love for us to spend our lives how we want to.
We have the choice to choose Him and His ways, or the world and it's ways. Actions speak louder than words, and our behaviors betray our deceitful hearts within us. We never see the true state of our hearts without Jesus illuminating them with His love. We are not good judges of ourselves, regardless how self-aware we are! We think we are good people, we love, we give, we help... At while those actions are "good". How is that different than a pagan?
Our life goals should be different. God very lovingly rebuked me with that a few weeks ago. How was my life goals for parenting my children and raising them up any different from someone who doesn't put their trust in and on Jesus and our Father? While there is nothing wrong with teaching excellence in school, finding their academic giftings, wanting a good career where they can be self-sufficient and help God's kingdom, that's NOT what God has called us to here. That's called working God in, not living for Him. He put in on my heart to raise my children to passionately pursue Him as their life goals, and trusting Him to provide the ideal career, spouse, life circumstances to bring that into fruition. God doesn't want to be one of our important things, He wants to be THE important thing. He is a jealous God for He created us for love. That's why we're here. He wants to be one in us, just like He was in Jesus.
There are many people who mock the name of Jesus that are more moral and ethical than me. It's not just about good behavior, that's an error in teaching. Yes, true Godly faith results in good works! That's scripture and it's true. We get backwards though in thinking good works reveal our faith b/c they don't. Just look at the Pharisees if you have any doubt of that!!! They lived the Christian life, they even tithed a tenth of their herbs, BUT they did not have the love of God within them. We need a revelation that being Christians starts with our salvation, but then we our to walk out our salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord, as He endues us with the joy of Lord as our strength. We're weren't created just to be saved, we were created to be love, that's why we were worth saving to Jesus. We are made in our Father's image, wonderfully and fearfully made at that, created for a purpose. All of us have good in our hearts and lives, but that's not what's at stake. Who has the love of Jesus Christ of Nazareth passionately burning in their hearts, loving with the heart of our Father? Love disciplines, it speaks truth, it denies itself to help others. Indifference and selfishness ignores, and that's not a trait we inherited from our Father.
We have a Father who loves us. Thank God. There is NO condemnation from those in Christ Jesus. If anyone feels guilty or ashamed reading this, then that's the work of the enemy in your thought life, and you need to cast that thought out unto the obedience of Christ. If you feel a nagging conviction that God's calling you to more, then ask Him to show you what He wants. Tell Him that if you ignore Him, to please continue to speak to you. Until we discern the still and quite leadings of the Spirit of God, we most likely will ignore Him quite a bit. Once we know His voice, we may find ourselves purposefully ignoring Him then too. This is not about being perfect, it's about having a willing heart that says YES to more of God, in increasing and fuller measures. We can not even fathom the blessings He wants to pour out in our lives.
If you haven't already, set aside 5 min every single day, to pray to God and thank Him. Make a commitment to fit God in daily, and He'll give you the grace you need to run and have fun with Him.