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Capital Campaign: Building Beyond Walls

He is Mine by Faith

Advent 2021, Week Four
By Brenna Smith

Week Four Scripture Reading: I John 4:1-4

The most wonderful time of the year, for me, is when the Hallmark Channel begins airing its Countdown to Christmas. In Hallmarkland, the holiday season starts before Halloween even hits. By now, festive movies have been airing for nearly two months!

Critics aren’t kind to these movies, panning them for portraying an unrealistic picture of romance. And, I agree. As much as I enjoy them, I don’t place any faith in the accuracy of these movies because I know they’re not trustworthy.

Several years ago, a college football player bravely finished out his senior season while mourning the tragic loss of his girlfriend to leukemia. Only – as it later turned out – she hadn’t died. She had never even existed!

Public embarrassment followed, and to this day, former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o remains one of the most famous instances of catfishing. (If you’ve never heard the term, catfishing is using a fake identity to lure someone into a relationship.) Manti placed his faith in the accuracy of what he was being told in his online romance, but it wasn’t trustworthy.

Manti and I have at least one thing in common. We have both been invested in a fake romance. The difference is that when I settle in to watch Countdown to Christmas, I know the stories on the screen are as artificial as the snowflakes falling in the town square. Manti, though, didn’t know his love story wasn’t real.

In I John 4:1-4, John is concerned about his readers being deceived – or catfished – spiritually. “Do not believe every spirit,” he writes in verse 1. “But test the spirits to see if they are from God.”

Basically, don’t swallow everything you hear hook, line, and sinker. Not everyone who talks about God is telling the truth about God. Just like Manti should have FaceTimed or met up with this girl – or, at the very least, Googled her to make sure she was legitimate – John gives Christians a simple way to test if we’re being spiritually deceived. Ready for it? The test is baby Jesus in the manger at Christmastime!

“Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,” John writes in verse 2. Jesus is upfront about who he is. He is the son of God who came as an actual flesh and blood person. Fully God and fully man. We should run everything we hear about him through that filter.

This Advent season, we’ve learned several phrases. Combined, they make up the doctrine of the gospel. First, God is holy. Second, I am sinful. Third, Jesus saves. And finally, today, he is mine by faith.

Faith is fully entrusting ourselves to Jesus. When we confess our faith in Jesus, we belong to him! And, unlike my beloved Hallmark Channel movies or Manti’s girlfriend, Jesus is trustworthy. We can place faith in his accuracy because he is who he says he is.

“The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (I John 4:4). What a gift to be grateful for this Christmas!

Reflection Questions: Have you confessed that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh from God? Are you trusting him to give you his righteousness? If not, what questions do you have or what makes you hesitant? If so, what evidence do you see in your life?

Prayer: Father, thank you for giving us the baby Jesus as proof of your true love. We confess that Jesus has come in the flesh to identify with us and save us from ourselves. Thank you for being who you say you are.

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