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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My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 2:1-2

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Have you ever found yourself rolling your eyes when someone gives you advice? A teacher tells you to pay attention and listen more carefully. A family member criticizes a characteristic about you that he or she wishes you'd change. A well-meaning friend shares advice that hits your heart hard.

If you answered yes, then you are in good company with followers of Jesus in the early church. Sometimes the best words for us to hear are not music to our ears. Sometimes the truth hurts.

When John wrote what might have been received as a tough word to this community, he wanted to make sure they didn't take his exhortations the wrong way. In case they forgot, John wanted these folks to know that they were loved. They were a part of God's family. They were welcomed unconditionally before God because of the life and death and resurrection of Jesus. And because of this, no eye-rolling avoidance of the truth was needed. Their job, just like our job today, was to hear God's word and believe.

Elizabeth Evans Hagan

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As I've heard your word for me today, help me to believe. Remind me of your love when I forget. 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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