In the swirling chaos of life, the advertisements competing for our attention, the online barrage of news and opinions (that often contradict each other), the relational conflict, the budgeting and financial pressure of making ends meet, the crises all around the world, and the unrest we hear about every day in the news, in all of this thing we call life, aren’t we all just looking for something we can rely on?
What is steady? What can we trust? What can we anchor ourselves to and find shelter through the rocky storms of life?
It’s a basic question every human has to answer. What can I trust? What foundation can I build my life on? What can I know for sure?
We need a foundation to build our life on. We need something we can trust. We can’t build any sort of structure, any sort of life, if there is not a firm foundation to build upon.
This need for something we can trust, something we can build our lives on, is not new to the 21st century. When the apostle John wrote a letter to first-century followers of Jesus, he addressed some of these same basic questions.
As he writes to these early followers of Jesus, he is writing to communities of believers who have been persecuted because of their faith. The Jewish religious leaders of the day were opposing those who claimed that Jesus was God, and the ruling political power of the day, Rome, also sought out and persecuted the followers of Jesus. It is to these people, the harassed and persecuted, those who have everything to lose by their allegiance to the cause of Christ, that John writes to give them assurance that they can, indeed, continue to build their life upon their faith in Jesus. John assures these early Christians:
And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life (1 John 5:11-13).
If you have Jesus, you have life. If you know Jesus, you can have confidence that you know God. If you don’t know Jesus, if you don’t have a relationship where you have trusted Christ and chosen to make Him the foundation you build your life upon, then you don’t have this life with God that is accessible only through Jesus.
Can it really be that simple? Can we strip away the noise and complication and confusion and find this rock-hard truth that there is, indeed, an opportunity presented to us to live reconciled to God, to live a life with God rather than struggling against God, and to have confidence that this life will continue with God into eternity?
John writes to assure his readers, YES! Yes, it really is this simple! Yes, you can have confidence in your relationship with God! Yes, this is something you can build your life upon!
Our confidence is not based in ourselves. Our confidence is based on the complete work of Christ, and that if Jesus really is who He said He was, if He really did conquer the grave and rise from the dead, then we, too, can find a new kind of life in Him. A kind of life that not even death can stop. A kind of life that breathes and thrives and loves and overcomes. This is the life offered to us in Christ.
The child-parent relationship is one that can never be broken. Your mom and dad will always be your mom and dad. No matter the status of the relationship, you will always be their biological son or daughter. Nothing you do can ever change that connection! This is one thing in life you can know for sure.
In the same way you can know that your mother is your mother, you can know that your Savior really IS your Savior. Jesus really has come to offer us a new kind of life, to save us from the ways of this world and the consequences of our sin and show us a new way to live.
If you have come to believe that Jesus is God, and trust that He really did conquer death and rise from the dead, and you recognize that His death on the cross paid the penalty you could never pay for the wrong things you have done in your life, you can have confidence that you really do, through Jesus, have a new and lasting relationship with God. A relationship that will last through eternity.
That sounds like a solid foundation you can build a life upon.
This reconciliation to God is just the beginning, and we have a whole life ahead of us where we learn how to live this new kind of life, to understand what the ways of God are, to find what it means to trust God and live our lives for Him, and to learn the patterns of walking through life with God. But it starts with being reconciled to God through Jesus.
You CAN have confidence that you have a relationship with God. This gives you a foundation that you can build a life upon.
Over the past year, I’ve been developing a curriculum called Following Jesus: Learning to Live and Love Like Jesus. The first lesson is what I’ve just been writing about: Finding Confidence in Your Relationship With Jesus. The book includes 9 studies total that look at what it means to be a follower of Jesus, and I’m excited to tell you that you can now check out this resource for yourself! All 9 lessons are available as a PDF download here. There are student copies and leader copies, and I’d encourage you to grab a friend and go through these together. If you live locally in Orange County, you can also pick up a hard-copy at the bookstore at my church (Calvary Church of Santa Ana).
I would also love you to join me as I spend the next few Wednesday nights going through this at my church. We’ll be meeting Wednesday nights at 7 pm and walking through and discussing these foundational lessons about what it means to be a follower of Jesus.