By Donah Mbabazi
Romans 10:9 indicates that ‘If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.’
Jesus Christ is the centre of the Christian faith, that goes without saying. However, its not always a given that when one accepts Christ, believe in Him and everything He stands for, comes automatically.
As a Christian, knowing Christ and fully believing in Him (what He can do) can be two different things.
Growing in faith is a journey.
It’s a paradox though. How do you accept what you don’t believe? Sharon Kantengwa, a writer and editor wonders.
She however recommends that for a believer who finds themselves in such a place, they should seek answers to their doubts, asking themselves why they don’t believe Him in the first place.
“The easiest way is to ask Him to reveal Himself beyond doubt. If He is real, He will speak/ show Himself in various ways you understand. A pastor once told us how he was a street kid and was toying around being saved until he heard a voice in his street language telling him to get saved and He knew it must have been God.
“Also, I think if you’re intentional about believing it’s easy to experience God beyond doubt,” she adds.
Salvation is first experiential then believed, as Michael Durham puts it in his article, ‘When knowing is believing, and when believing doesn’t need to know.’
To be saved is an experience—an encounter with God—followed by faith in God, he writes.
From his own experience, Hudson Kuteesa, a Christian, says that when he accepted Jesus, he knew that He was so powerful and is the judge who will hold the whole world accountable. So, he realised he had to make peace with Him so that he won’t have to be condemned at the end of the ages.
“But on my journey, I often realised that I needed to grow in faith in Him, because the world kept throwing questions at me, including those that would have made me compromise and leave my saviour. So, my heart had this zeal to discover more about His power, that he can save me in every situation, and that I just need to surrender to Him every time and not try to save myself from hard situations by telling lies for example.
“To be honest, for some part of my life, I was not very committed until I saw very overwhelming evidence of God touching the world. In 2012, for example, I attended a worship night while at campus, and what I saw there was life changing. I saw many prophecies there and supernatural things being done. I was very afraid and terrified. I realised the more that this God I believed was so real and I need to surrender to Him totally,” Kuteesa shares.
As he continues in his salvation journey, he endeavours to read the Bible and listen to God and pray, “I realise that He is so powerful and He is all I need, not money, not cars, not people. The Bible says, ‘be still and know that I am God.’ So, my faith is growing in His power and faithfulness and I can’t easily leave Him now. I am always learning that He is God and I need to know His power and just be still.”
“So, what you do is to seek Him so that you can know His Power. Psalms 63:2 says, ‘So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory.”
This, according to Kuteesa, means one always has to go to His sanctuary, meet with people who are more spiritual than you, ask them serious questions, but also one needs to make sure that they pray earnestly and meditate about Him, for His Power is not hard to find because He is so interested in revealing Himself to us.
For Pascal Ntaganda, a banker, when a person receives Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, it’s more by conviction than just saying it.
He shares his understanding of how sometimes people accept Jesus but not with the right conviction (not whole heartedly) and then they live thinking that they accepted Jesus but when it’s not the case.
“Again, when you come to Jesus with the perspective of a transactional Jesus, you actually miss out on the relation part. Most of the time people are led to Jesus with different motives and interests. Some are led expecting to fill their bank accounts, others come thinking he is going to get them spouses, others come with all the hope that He is going to provide jobs for them. Indeed Jesus provides and gives all of this, but a relationship with Him should come first,” Ntaganda says.
He therefore doubts if someone who accepted Christ can reach a point where they no longer believe that He is the Saviour because ‘Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow.’
Truly believing in God is believing with your whole heart, because much as confession is with the mouth, conviction is with the heart and the mind. And of course, abide in Him every day, because when he says in John 15: ‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener…if we abide in Him and He in us, then truly it becomes so hard not to believe in Jesus, he shares.
Something important to note is the environment in which people who are trying to grow in the Lord operate in, Ntaganda advises. “Some environments are not really healthy for someone who has given their lives to Jesus to enable them to grow in the Lord.”