From the beginning to the end of the Gospel of John, the word “believe” is written 43 times. It is clearly a key word in this book. “31But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:31.
When you believe in something, you are all in. My 13-year old daughter Katie and I took a trip to Grand Marais to go snowmobiling. We stayed in a hotel right on Lake Superior. Katie is rather adventurous so she said “Dad, I want to do the polar plunge.” Being the good father that I am, I said, “Have fun! I’ll watch you from the shore.” She put on her bathing suit, wrapped herself in a towel, and we headed down to the lake. As she stood by the side of the lake talking, and talking, and talking about going all the way in for an entire minute, a couple out for a walk saw her and said “well, are you going to go or not?” After another minute of waiting they left. Katie turned and asked me if the water would be cold and I said “Of course it’s cold! It’s Lake Superior in the winter!” After another 30 seconds of debating she gave a shout and said “I’m going all the way in dad! Watch me!” And watch her I did. She took two steps into the icy water and by the time it reached her ankles, she screamed and hollered saying she was freezing and immediately ran back to the hotel.
In the same way that Katie had every intention of going all the way in that icy water, Jesus tells us to go all in. We can’t just stick our toes in the shallow end of the spiritual pool. Jesus invites us to jump in the deep end. It is critical to our spiritual walk to, not just acknowledge, but to wholeheartedly believe. This firm belief is the root of all of our decisions and it guides us in our actions like a compass.
God doesn’t expect you to have it all together or maintain a perfect track record in order to jump in. He invites you to believe right now, just as you are. Jesus promises: “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never, ever die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26.