People often muse, “If I could have been on Earth when Jesus was here and seen him with my own eyes, I would believe.” Or, “If only I witnessed Jesus performing miracles, interacting with his disciples, helping people, and really coming back from the dead, I might then consider him to be God.” Sadly, many people observed all of those things, yet still didn’t believe. Seeing undoubtedly encourages us in our faith, and helps us overcome obstacles in our growth. However, seeing is not believing. Seeing engages my brain, but faith captures my heart.
There is even a noteworthy difference between being amazed by something and having faith. Emotions should not be confused with life-changing faith and trust. Believing in your heart goes beyond a feeling, and yes, clear evidence that might be right in front of your face. Captivation and amazement are often steps in the process of faith, but they do not equal the substance of faith. Head knowledge of truth is quite important, but it is not faith.
What if you are watching thrill-seekers sky dive out of an airplane into the Grand Canyon? You are amazed by their courage and the incredible feat they undertake. You are even moved by the beauty of the entire event. Person after person jumps out and flies like an eagle over the breathtaking creation of God, landing safely on the canyon floor. They enthusiastically say it was the greatest experience of their life. Now, will you put on your parachute and jump? You see, there really is quite a difference in amazement, knowledge, and faith.
After being asked to see His nail-scarred hands by Thomas, Jesus stated, and even questioned, in John 20:29, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” The writer of Hebrews puts it this way: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). The Bible states that faith is not based on empirical evidence, but on divine assurance, and is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). I love empirical evidence as much as the next guy! I love to study it, teach it in defending the truth of the gospel and God’s Word, and see how it really can captivate our minds and strengthen our beliefs. Seeing is a good thing. It is one of the best things! Still, seeing is not believing.
My fear is that too often people confuse head knowledge with heart knowledge. You can recognize all the right “stuff” about Jesus, and still be lost. Do you KNOW Him? Have you TRUSTED Him with your life? Surrendering your life to Jesus reaches far beyond religion, morality, or believing empirical data. None of these things equate to faith.
However, when the Spirit enlightens us to the truth of the person of Jesus, and we trust Him with our lives, something happens! As you rest in the assurance of His grace, and by faith enter into a relationship with Him, you begin to see more than ever before. Strap the parachute on, and jump! God is not satisfied with us merely being awestruck or emotional, or knowing all the right answers to the most important questions. He is not impressed in the least with our religion. He wants to live and rule in our hearts. Hebrews 11:6 states that God works so that we will “believe that he exists and that He rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
The righteous live by faith. Faith is actually trusting in who God says He is, and what He has said He will do. When you surrender your life to Christ, you will know Him, and will be captivated by life in Him. Jesus has done what you needed to do and could not do, so you could trust in what He did, and will do. Put your faith in Him today. Your eyes will see as your heart is enlightened. And yes, you will be amazed.
Ashley Mofield is the Senior Pastor at White House First Baptist Church, 2800 Highway 31 W in White House, (615) 672-3266.