We have not seen Jesus with our eyes. We didn’t follow him during his ministry like Mary Magdalene, or have our feet washed by him like the disciples. Yet Jesus says we don’t need to physically see him in order to trust him and love him.
So what does believing Jesus look like for us today?
What does it look like to depend on him when we’re tired with discouragement, when life itself gives us many reasons to weep and fear and doubt?
The apostle John tells us: “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; these are written so 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).
These are written. Jesus gives us his word. The Bible on your nightstand or coffee table or bookshelf is no ordinary book, but a precious gift from him. We grow in trusting him as he reveals himself to us there, speaking straight to our hearts about who he is and all he has accomplished to serve and love his people into resurrection life.
His speaking to us does at least three things: strengthens our faith, increases our joy, and makes our hearts like his.
Scripture Strengthens Our Faith
Jesus gives you his word to strengthen your faith in him. In your doubts, do you need to remember who God is today? In your discouragements—in all the trials that make life hard, that make you forget how loved you are, that bring you to suspect God of holding out on you—do you need to remember all the ways Jesus has served you?
In the mad rush, it’s easy to let our Bibles collect dust on the shelf. Perhaps this is because we haven’t yet been convinced of the life-giving, faith-strengthening nature of God’s word. As bread sustains our bodies, so his words sustain our souls (Matt. 4:4). We need Scripture so our faith does not wither, so we do not remake God in our own image, and so we become people who can discern truth from error.
Maybe the thought of reading the Bible overwhelms you. Start small:
- Read a few verses, or one chapter at a time.
- Read in the margins: while eating with your family, during nap time, while waiting in the car line at school, or during your lunch break.
- Listen to it on speakerphone as you’re getting ready in the morning or driving.
- Join a Bible study or small group at your church.
You don’t necessarily need to wake up at the crack of dawn to meet with Jesus. There are no rules here, only priorities and a great promise: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17).
Scripture Increases Our Joy
Jesus once spoke to his disciples about staying close to him, promising them that the effect of this abiding is joy. “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11).
My joy. What exactly is Jesus’s joy like? He is referring to the perfect, infinite love shared between Father, Son, and Spirit. And their joy is the joy Jesus is talking about:
Unconditional, indestructible, unending relational happiness.
Sweet fellowship, perfect companionship, and satisfaction in God.
This is precisely what he offers us in giving us himself through his Word. I can’t put it any better than John Piper does: “Who can tell what measures of joy in God are possible . . . if we give ourselves utterly to the word of God?”
At the end of the day, when you sink into the couch exhausted, a Netflix show may help for a moment, but what our souls truly long for and need most is life-giving, lasting, unshakeable joy in a risen Savior who walked out of his grave. We need eternal, living hope, a reality check that lifts our eyes and hearts off our circumstances to the unseen kingdom of Christ, who is alive, and is with us by his Spirit, and is working out all his purposes—even the hard ones—for his own honor and our joy.
Scripture Makes Us Like Jesus
Jesus also gives you his word to make your heart like his.
So we push back despair and discouragement and sadness. Rather than retreating into our own dark thoughts or the incessant messages of a million people on social media, we turn to our Bibles. We open our hearts to the love of Christ because faith comes from hearing, and hearing through his word.
And his word is not like any other book. It is alive because its Author is risen.
- It is a fount of truth to drink from (Isa. 55:1–3).
- It is the sword of the Spirit to fight with (Eph. 6:17).
- It is a living seed that bears eternal fruit (Luke 8:11; 1 Pet. 1:23).
And the more we steep our hearts in it, the more our hearts begin to absorb his heart; and by the help and power of his Spirit—the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead—we are changed. We are brought from death to life.
Even when we can’t discern it, God’s word is doing his work.
And our affections, perspective, motives, and actions increasingly look like his.
Are you discouraged today? Do you need to fight sadness, doubt, even despair? To whom shall you go? He has the words of eternal life (John 6:68).
So run to the living word of the living Christ.
This article originally appeared at Open the Bible and is adapted from my book Humble Moms: How the Work of Christ Sustains the Work of Motherhood.