“Do you believe in Jesus, or do you just believe things about Him?” That question challenged high school students from Arbor Road throughout their week at Hume Lake. PJ Lewis, the speaker at camp that week, encouraged students to examine their lives to see if they fully trust God or if they are just going through the motions.
He explained the difference between believing in God and just believing things about God by saying, “I believe that God exists for all eternity; He exists for all eternity past and all eternity future; and I still haven’t told you if I believe in Him. Everything I just told you Satan believes, and we all know that Satan will never believe in Jesus. Satan believes in who? Satan believes in himself.”
In order to fully trust God, we can’t put our faith in ourselves. PJ went on to say that fully trusting God requires us to confess our sins knowing that we are not capable of getting rid of them ourselves; only God can. Ultimately, believing in God means relying on him entirely to guide our lives.
I spoke with two high school students and asked them to share how this message impacted their lives.
Luke shared that his eyes were open to an entirely new perspective. He was convicted by PJ’s words and he realized that he had never fully believed in Jesus. He had gone to church and learned a lot about God, but never applied that knowledge or shared the good news with his friends.
I asked Luke for specific examples of how he would trust Jesus and how would he apply what PJ said when he got back to school? He told me that he wants to make his friends aware of how much he trusts Jesus. He used to conform to the way his friends spoke and acted because he cared more about their opinions than God’s will. I asked him if he was nervous to share his faith and he said, “Yes, but God doesn’t give us what we want, He gives us what we need.”
I asked him how he would resist the temptation to be just like his friends and instead be a better example of Christ’s love. He responded by saying that he wants to stay in the Word. He realizes that in order to keep trusting in God, he needs to be immersed in the Bible and read it as often as he would brush his teeth.
He’s been asking God to prepare his heart for the challenges he might face and is already relying on God by simply bringing his concerns to Him and asking Him for guidance.
A few days after I spoke with Luke, I sat down with Roxanne and her small group leader Nicole. I asked Roxanne, “What does it mean to trust God?” Immediately, she told me that trusting God gives her confidence that He is in control of the things that happen in her life. She currently can’t live with her mom and she never trusted that God had a reason for that. She used to be bitter at God for allowing her mom to leave, but listening to PJ helped her realize that in order to take steps toward forgiving her mom, she needed to put aside her bitterness and trust in the Lord’s plan.
I asked her what caused her to trust God’s plan instead of holding on to her bitterness. She said that being surrounded by her small group at Hume encouraged her to trust God’s plan. I asked her to explain and she said that looking back, she can tell that God allowed her mom to leave for a reason. If her mom had not left then she would have never come to Arbor Road and met her small group.
She said it’s hard to trust God’s plan, but her small group helps remind her how important it is. She has been able to take this lesson and apply it to other things that happen in her life and now she is more willing to hand control over to God.
Trusting God is different for all of us because we each have unique experiences and concerns to bring to Him. For Luke trusting God means being more outspoken about his faith to his friends. For Roxanne it means handing over her feelings about her mother to Christ. Both of their experiences show that believing in God takes more than just knowing facts about Him. It takes courage to let go of control and embrace His plan.
So where do you stand? “Do you believe in Jesus, or do you just believe things about him?”
Written by: Robert Heckert