What Matters Most

During my freshman year of college, the January temperatures in central Ohio dropped low enough and long enough for a nearby pond to freeze over. Someone in the dorm came around recruiting for an afternoon of hockey. Let’s go! It felt so good to be back out on the ice, though skating and puck control on a pond were trickier than when playing on the smoother rink surfaces to which I was accustomed, for pond ice is almost always bumpier. It was also less reliable, I found, for at some point in the afternoon my right skate broke through the ice and plunged into the water beneath. I quickly pulled it out and continued to play a while longer, but not with the same level of confidence, for the ice had proved itself unworthy of my trust.

Sometimes we hear people say it doesn’t matter what we believe, as long as we believe in “something.” Some decree all religions lead to God, that they all believe in essentially the same things. But this is simply not compatible with Biblical teaching. Early in His earthly ministry, Jesus explained, “Whoever believes in [the Son of God] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”1 And the night in which He was betrayed, Jesus assured His disciples with this exclusive truth-claim: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”2 Where we place our faith truly matters.

It was a different winter, this time near my hometown in northern Michigan. Lake Huron was ice covered, and I decided to walk out on it. The further I ventured out, the darker the ice appeared—the lake was getting deeper and the ice becoming thinner. I was somewhat wary, yet adventuresome, so I continued until at some point I thought I had gone farther than I should and it would be best to turn around and head back toward land. Though by now I had become anxious of my situation, the ice proved itself strong enough to hold me above the depths below and return me safely to shore.

Which matters more—the size of our faith, or the object of our faith? It is the latter. Misplaced confidence, no matter how bold, will always let us down; but even shaky faith in the unshakable Savior is faith well placed. In Him we are safe.

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 John 5:11-12)

Father, thank You for loving us enough to save us. Grace us not to doubt, but to place our faith in Your Son, for life is found in Him alone. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

1 John 3:18
2 John 14:6

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