Wednesday, August 29, 2007

All I Need is a Miracle?

What would it take for you to believe in God? I think many people would answer that they would believe if God would give them some kind of sign. In their way of thinking if God would do a miracle for them to see and verify then they would believe in Him. Their refusal to believe is supposedly based on God’s unwillingness to reveal Himself to them.

Do you think that witnessing a miracle would make your faith stronger? I have my doubts. From the pages of Scripture this never seems to be the case. Take for example Paul and Barnabas’ time in Iconium:

3 So they stayed there for a considerable time, speaking out courageously for the Lord, who testified to the message of his grace, granting miraculous signs and wonders to be performed through their hands. 4 But the population of the city was divided; some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles. (Acts 14:3-4; NET)

In the midst of miraculous signs, given by God to validate the message of the two missionaries, the population is divided. Some accepted the miracles as statements of God’s blessing and others explained away the miracles and opposed the message of Paul and Barnabas. Miracles will not make a person already chosen to disbelieve the Gospel believe. The presence of miracles might make a person’s faith stronger, but they are not the missing piece of the puzzle that make the doubter suddenly believe the error of his/her ways.

We this time and time again in Scripture from the ancient Israelites to the contemporaries of Jesus, miracles do not convince people to trust God. You would think that they would, awesome examples of God’s power, but they are too easily explained away and forgotten.

So what is the evidence that people need? It appears to me that the evidence that people need to put their trust in God through Jesus Christ is love. The fully devoted follower of Jesus is to live a life of love, this is our foundational purpose in life. Jesus told us:
'"Listen, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' 31 The second is: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:29-31, NET)

The life that we are to live is a life marked by love, and that life will validate the message we proclaim. Jesus taught His disciples:
34 "I give you a new commandment - to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples - if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35; NET)

How do we prove that we are Jesus disciples? Through our love. If we are not living lives that are characterized by love it doesn’t matter what we might say or do because our message will fall on deaf and/or hostile ears.

The message of Jesus Christ is advanced not through witty arguments, fancy buildings and programs, or even awe-inspiring miracles. The message that we need to be sending is a message of love. Not so much by what we say, but more by the things that we do. All I need is love, not a miracle.

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