We could always tell when she got in trouble.
The “she” was a friend of mine in High School. How could we tell she had gotten in trouble for something she had done over the weekend?
She would walk in on Monday morning looking like a totally different person. She’d listen to Christian music and talk about the Bible. I’m not exaggerating. It was that obvious.
But it didn’t last. It was an act.
Perhaps if she’d really gotten busted for something, it might last a couple of weeks, but she would slip back into old habits soon enough.
While we might get a bit of a chuckle out of a high schooler’s approach to trying to make up for getting in trouble, we often do something similar.
When do most people pray? When they need something.
When do most people head to a church service? When things are going terribly.
When do most people read their Bible? When a friend or family member challenges them and they don’t have a good answer.
That’s not really walking in the Lord. It’s a start maybe, but it’s not the life Jesus died to give us. Our lives reveal who we’re really following. This is what we read in John 3:31-36:
31 The 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. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.John 3:31-36
New International Version
This passage is a reflection on what came before it: when John the Baptizer accepts his role as “the best man at the wedding” at which Jesus is the groom. It’s a beautiful lesson in humility and keeping Jesus number one in our lives.
Heaven and earth are two vastly different realities. And those living in each of these realities have very different perspectives.
But there is one who has traversed across the great gulf fixed between Heaven and Earth. Yes, we as followers of Jesus die and go to Heaven, but we do not go back and forth. But, as verse 31 states, “the one who comes from above is above all.” The Word of God made flesh, our Savior Jesus Christ, exists over everything.
Those from Earth, however intelligent or spiritually minded they may be, are still bound in this reality. We speak and only truly know of this world. Jesus has been in both. And He is uniquely qualified to provide information about the world waiting for us on the other side of our mortality. The arrival of this divine messenger, however, does not guarantee the world will accept his testimony.
The Scriptures reveal as much in verse 32. John the Apostle remarks that by and large, this testimony of Jesus went unnoticed and unheeded. What’s more, to those who reject the message of Christ, it is a bunch of ridiculous notions. I really think this is why some people act so incredulously towards the claims of Christianity: it’s foolishness to them. It ranks right up there with Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.
But whoever accepts the testimony of Jesus certifies the Father’s truthfulness (verse 33). When we exalt the Savior in our hearts and lives, we are certifying the testimony of Jesus.
“Certify” (in Greek, the original language John is writing in) means “to authenticate”. This certification is like the stamping of a legal document, thus indicating approval. We validate the testimony of Jesus Christ about God the Father when the Son’s life is lived out in our lives.
The proof of Jesus’ power is expressed in our changed lives.
Do our lives prove the power of Jesus?
Do those around us know we have embraced Jesus’ testimony about eternal life?
Do we live in the reality that it is a privilege to be called “a child of God”?
Do we live as if our lives are not our own but are the Lord’s?
Do you live with the reality that your life certifies who is number one in your life?