Yesterday, we thought about doing God’s will. Today, we think about building up ourselves in faith. What are the ways that we can build ourselves up in? For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.” Faith? I had to give some thought about how I try to do this.
The first thing that came to mind is prayer. My grandmother told me that God waited at the end of each day for me to talk to him and tell him about my day. This habit is one that has lasted for over 70 years. I didn’t even realize that this was prayer until when I was older! Such experience gives me time to reflect on my day, give thanks for the good things, thanks for getting me through the difficult ones and asking for help both for myself and my friends and family. I usually end with a formal prayer and then remember the other things and people I need to pray for. I find comfort and inspiration in my church community. After all, the word “church” originally meant the gathering of the people, not a building.
Reflecting on Scripture brings me closer to the Father as well as to Jesus. How can we follow Jesus if we don’t know what he did and said? Studying the Bible with others gives me insights that I might never have seen. So, I guess that prayer, reflecting on Scripture, both alone and with others, and immersing myself in the Christian community are the ways that I try to build up myself in this holy faith with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. What are your ways?
1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs You are doing if God were not with him.”
4“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time to be born?”
5Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh is born of flesh, but spirit is born of the Spirit. 7Do not be amazed that I said, ‘Youb must be born again.’ 8The wind blows where it wishes. You hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
9“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
10“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and you do not understand these things? 11Truly, truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, and yet you people do not accept our testimony.
12If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven—the Son of Man.c 14Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.d
16For God so loved the world that He gave His one and onlye Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. 18Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
19And this is the verdict: The Light has come into the world, but men loved the darkness rather than the Light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come into the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever practices the truth comes into the Light, so that it may be seen clearly that what he has done has been accomplished in God.”f
John’s Testimony about Jesus
22After this, Jesus and His disciples went into the Judean countryside, where He spent some time with them and baptized.
25Then a dispute arose between John’s disciples and a certain Jewg over the issue of ceremonial washing. 26So John’s disciples came to him and said, “Look, Rabbi, the One who was with you beyond the Jordan, the One you testified about—He is baptizing, and everyone is going to Him.”
27John replied, “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. 28You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but am sent ahead of Him.’ 29The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom stands and listens for him, and is overjoyed to hear the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30He must increase; I must decrease.
31The One who comes from above is above all. The one who is from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks as one from the earth. The One who comes from heaven is above all.h 32He testifies to what He has seen and heard, yet no one accepts His testimony. 33Whoever accepts His testimony has certified that God is truthful. 34For the One whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.
35The Father loves the Son and has placed all things in His hands. 36Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life. Whoever rejects the Son will not see life. Instead, the wrath of God remains on him.”i
3 a Or born from above ; also in verse 7.
7 b The Greek word for you is plural; also in verse 12.
13 c BYZ and TR include who is in heaven .
15 d Or everyone who believes may have eternal life in Him.
16 e Or only begotten or unique ; also in verse 18
21 f Some translators close this quotation after verse 15.
25 g TR and the Jews
31 h Tischendorf The One comes from heaven.
36 i Some translators close this quotation after verse 30.
This verse echoes the essence of our Christian walk: keep your trust in God and never rely on your own wisdom. Involve Him in all areas of your life and you will never go wrong. When tough times come, you will have confidence because you know God is with you. Our human wisdom can never match up to God’s wisdom.
Dear God, I put my trust in you and acknowledge that only you can guide me in the right direction. Father, may you be involved in every aspect of my life. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.