Amidst all the conversations and arguments about faith, there remains this simple thing we are asked to do - believe.

But believing is not always a simple thing.

Be still for a bit, consider what you believe. And who you believe.

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This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

1 John 1:5-10

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When we start out, it's easy to think that following Jesus is easy. We might have said a prayer, joined the church, or even been baptized by our favorite pastor. But the more we know of Jesus and the longer we try to live our lives serving him, the more we realize how far we miss the mark. None of us is fully the person we really want to be.

Missing the mark of God's best for us is what we call sin. Sin can be a scary word, especially for those of us who have been around the church for a long time. When we hear "sin," we think of a description of ourselves as "guilty, bad, unworthy, or lost." While these words certainly have something to do with how sin changes us, they are not the whole story.

Talking about sin is ultimately meant to give us a deeper understanding of Jesus. When we tell the truth about our own lives, we are able then to see Jesus, in all his goodness, more clearly. We walk in the light.

Elizabeth Evans Hagan

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Jesus, you are the light of the world, and in you there is no darkness at all. Help me to confess to you the many ways that I choose darkness over the light your love brings. Then help me accept this day the grace of walking with you in the light. Amen.

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The saying is sure. I desire that you insist on these things, so that those who have come

To believe in God

May be careful to devote themselves to good works; these things are excellent and profitable to everyone.

Titus 3:8

Elizabeth Evans Hagan

Elizabeth Evans Hagan is pastor of Washington Plaza Baptist Church in Reston, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, DC. She blogs regularly about the art of pastoring and the adventure of faith at Preacher on the Plaza Though she's never learned to ride a bike (this might be her year!), she enjoys spending time outdoors and on weekend adventures with her husband, Kevin.

Be Thou My Vision

Ken Medema

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