What Does It Mean to 'Believe?'
Micca Monda Campbell

"If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved." Romans 10:9 (NIV)

I didn't take the time to discuss it with my parents or even tell them where I was going. Inside that large arena, I leaped from my seat and ran toward the stage. I was running to Jesus. My mother called my name and begged me to stop. As I looked back at her, a sea of people began to fill the gap between us. Normally, this would have frightened a small child, but I wasn't afraid at all. The pull towards the stage was much stronger than the fear of being separated from my mother. Luckily, a counselor reunited us and my mother was there to witness my introduction to Jesus.

I was seven years-old when I met Jesus for the first time. While attending a James Robison crusade with my family, I was captured by the words of the evangelist as he described Jesus as the Son of God and the Savior of the world. That divine night, my eyes were opened to God's message of hope. When Pastor Robison invited all who believed to come forward, I went.

That was an exciting day for me. However, as the years passed I noticed something disturbing. I wasn't experiencing the change I had hoped for. In fact, each time I heard a pastor say, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and experience freedom from sin and a life marked by peace, power, and joy," I became more confused. I do believe in Jesus. Why weren't those truths a reality in my life?

Like some today, I had misunderstood what it meant to believe.

To "believe" means much more than simply acknowledging Christ's death on a cross. Unfortunately, for many today that word has been reduced to just that - a mere mental acknowledgement. Like me, multitudes have said the sinner's prayer because they believe Jesus died on a cross. But without the call to confess sin and commit to a life of following Christ in obedience, no transformation takes place. That's the problem with knowledge alone. It requires no commitment and brings about no lasting change.

The Bible teaches that to believe means to acknowledge what Christ did on the cross and to be so changed by it that we want to obey His will and His Word. Therefore, to believe is to obey. A person who truly believes is compelled by God's love, and responds with a desire to obey Him. Their belief not only motivates them to obey but to trust God completely with their life.

When I finally understood this truth, I made a new and final commitment: "God, I so believe in Your Son who died for my sins that I surrender my will for Yours." Then, I began studying and applying God's Word to my life. That's when I noticed real change taking place. I noticed something else too. My problems didn't instantly go away, but I wasn't carrying them alone anymore. That's not all. No matter who mocked me or what trouble came my way, I decided to trust God. Doing so brought peace to my heart like never before.

A true believer is not only identified by what she confesses, but by the fruit of her obedience. The only way to identify genuine belief in your life and the lives of others is by a life that demonstrates it. When a person has experienced real change through a surrendered life, others will know it by their actions.

If you are like me, wondering why no change has occurred since you prayed to become a Christian, perhaps you need to move from acknowledging Christ to living a life of obedience to Him. I promise you … it's what you're looking for.

Dear Lord, for too long I have only acknowledged You as the Son of God and the Savior of the world. I long for real change. Today, I surrender my will to You. I commit to a life of obedience. Forgive me for my sins and fill me with your Spirit. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

This devotion was adapted from Micca’s book, An Untroubled Heart. Order your copy now!

Visit Micca’s blog

When Life and Beliefs Collide: How Knowing God Makes a Difference by Carolyn Custis James

Application Steps:
Begin today with this commitment: "God, I so believe in Your Son who died for my sins that I surrender my will for Yours." Then follow through by reading the Bible and asking the Holy Spirit to help you life out it's truths by obeying what it says there.

How does your life reflect the fact that faith and action are inseparable?

Can you feel secure in your experience with God if it never leads to obedient action?

Power Verses:
James 2:24, "You see then that a person is justified by what he does, and not by faith alone." (NIV)

James 1:23-24, "For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was." James 1:23-24 (NASB)

© 2010 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

So true.. Thank you a lot!!

God bless!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your writing. I had this happen to ne a few years ago and finally truly accepted Jesus as my savior. What a difference.

Blogger Marilyn Fox said...

Yes, believing is only the beginning. If our lives remain the same, somthing is wrong. As we get closer and closer to Him, His Presence changes us from the inside out. We become a new person without old desires, habits, etc. It is so exciting to experience this and see this in others!!! We thank YOU for making the difference, O our Father!

wow this is exactly how i feel and i havent read the bible or attened church i did when i was younger but now it just seeems i don't fit in. I am going to take this challegne and try to find all of god. thank you for putting words to what i was feeling............

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen! I have surrendered and continue to surrender daily! I finally know what it is to be FREE and have God's peace even in times of chaos. Am in love with God, not just loving him. I knew I was saved before, but looking back was "asleep" then and now I am "awake". Never want to go back to that and want everyone to feel what I do. Pray for me to always be in his will and just a clean vessel to serve him! Bless you all!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was saved over 30 years ago and I do still have battles that seem to overwhelm me at times. Just this week my job was a constant battle for me. But I got up this morning and I am putting it in Gods hands because I dont know what to do anymore. Thanks for the writing. It helped me to see that I need to trust in Him more.

Anonymous SpringsInTheDesert said...

wow well said..many people who accept Jesus expect a drastic change in their lives...but they forget it was just the beginning of a relationship..living a life of obedience and constantly trying to grow in Him will only make the difference in the relationship.
when we earnestly do that..life begins to change..

Thank you for the devotion

Anonymous SALT&LIGTH by JESUS said...

Amen! to all the comments this morning.Thank you for this devotion which helps me to inspect my walk and to know if i am lacking something so vital as living by His word, without that obedience is like wanting to pull out water from an empty well. Only a true life of worship can satisfy our thirst. prayer-Father I pray that You Steer our hearts so deep that our spirit cries daily for more of You and less of us,that we live to bring You glory in every thing we do, in JESUS name amen.

Blogger Micca said...

I am so excited at how God is using HIS TRUTH to speak encouragement, conviction, and blessings to so many of you today.
Continue to trust and obey friends so that you shine for those seeking truth as well.

You are loved!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is what we refer to as false conversion. There are too many "Christians" out there believing the lie that because they "prayed a prayer" or "asked Jesus into their heart" they are safe from judgement. It isn't praying a prayer or accepting Jesus that saves us, because nothing we can do will save us! It is this realization and the resulting faith in what Jesus did for us on the cross that humbles us enough that we see our need for the savior, then and only then, through repentance and faith, can we be saved. Praise God, he made a way for us, though we do not deserve it.

Blogger Micca said...

Thank you Anonymous for sharing. You're right, faith is trusting in what God accompolished through Christ on the cross. True faith/belief results in a changed life--one that longs to do God's will.
So many today are not experience change because they thought all they had to do was say a prayer and acknowledge Christ's death.

As a result, they try hard at pleasing God and living a holy life. But God never intended for us to achieve Salvation or holiness by our own efforts. It comes through a surrendered life. The more we surrender, the more Christ can live in and through!
praise His Name!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this message. It is 5:30 am and I could not sleep and now just feel wide awake with this message. I have been feeling this to be true anyway what you said, but I just want to go out and share this with so many others, I am jotting notes and feel the need to speak to our youth group about this. Look forward to reading more from you and going to your blog.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you I was looking for the sinner's prayer for my children and found this!! This is a great addition. Thank you.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sitting in my schools library right now and I am in absolute awe. Not even 10 minutes ago I updated my facebook status and said, "Have you ever wanted something so desperately, yet didn't have the slightest idea what it was?" I have been in this rut for a while and after going back and reading this, my eyes are being opened up. I want so desperately to follow Christ unconditionally, but it's so hard with all of the temptations of college life. Please keep me in your prayers as I continue to fight this battle.

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