Tonight our Bible study group got together for our annual Christmas dinner at the home of one of our members. One of the things that is so nice about our group is that we all blend so well together. That doesn’t mean that we are all alike but it does mean that we all get along and accept one another for who and what we are. We have studied many years together now and the group is comfortable – almost like family. So you never know where the conversation is going to go, but it is always interesting.
As usual, Rich provided a wonderful evening for us. Appetizers, followed by soup, then the main course of pot roast with all the trimmings and sides, ultimately followed by pumpkin flavor ice cream – and boy was it good. Now I am something of an ice cream aficionado. I have loved ice cream my entire life. And that started a discussion on different flavors and what each of us liked.
Now I admit that I have always liked peppermint ice cream. In fact, it is my favorite – I was virtually raised on the stuff. I never cared much for cake or eclairs or other desserts – but I have always loved ice cream. And peppermint is at the top of the list. But I am a little finicky about peppermint. It just can’t be any peppermint – it must be the ice cream than only has the pink candy cane pieces in it. In other words, none of that green stuff that is so common in most of the brands. I swear that it isn’t as good as the original pink ice cream.
Now I’m quite positive that the two kinds of peppermint ice cream really are different. But this evening, I found it difficult to describe the differences between them. Several members of our group just don’t care for peppermint so they weren’t much help in the discussion. And several others have never really thought about it so it really wasn’t all that important to land on one side or the other. But to me, it’s a big deal.
I finally got to the point that although I believe the two varieties to be different, I don’t know that I could prove it. After all, taste is something subjective and we all look at these things from different perspectives. So how could I prove that they aren’t the same? The more I thought about it, the more I came to conclusion that they are different because I believe they are different – that is the bottom line. And it really doesn’t make any difference what anyone else may think if I believe something to be true.
That’s the way it is with God, isn’t it? Somewhere along the line, no matter how much you think you intellectually know about God, there is some point in the journey when it is necessary to take a step of faith and just believe. That’s why scientists and many others have such a hard time with theology. Because there is no definite way to prove that Jesus is God – it’s something you must take at face value and accept as truth. Otherwise, it will be a long, lonely trip through life without knowing the love of the Father or His Son.
The verse for this evening is from 1 John 5:5, “Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” Notice that John tells us that the secret to overcoming the things of this world, in favor of eternal things, is to believe that Jesus is God. Period. My encouragement this evening is that God has given us free will and we have the chance to believe or not – as we see fit. Of course, my prayer is that you will take the chance to believe and that you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…