Let’s Begin 2023 With I Believe

GodReflection: I Believe.

Here we are ready or not. Once again, we have a new year before us. I am not one who makes New Year Resolutions to begin after the clock strikes Midnight. Over the past few years, I notice some have traded New Year Resolutions for a key word to live into for the twelve new months.

As I begin this new series of post, I have not formally adopted a key word for 2023. However, I Believe is not a bad North Star to highlight a value that I aspire to grow into at a deeper level. I Believe, is not “a wade into” concept—rather it is a plunge into deep water of unknown depth.

My thought process started to reexplore the waters of I Believe as some in my church family began to revisit long ancient doctrinal summaries of Christian History known as creeds. These doctrinal summaries get their tag ‘creed’ from the translation of their declaration in the original languages as, I Believe.

As you often do, allow me to digress at this point. By nature, I am not a first adapter. I find my growth is most often aided by those who are years farther along the road than I or have lived in the past and their wisdom and word survive the test of time. One such person is the late Eugene Peterson who authored many insightful books and is known as the one who translated Holy Scripture into what we have as The Message.

In the Introduction to his translation of the Gospel of John, Peterson’s words caught my attention: Keeping company with these words (Jesus’s Words as the Words of God), we begin to realize that our words are more important than we ever supposed. Saying “I Believe,” for instance makes the difference between life and death.

The difference between life and death? Sounds important. I suppose each one of us operates from our beliefs. Even to stop or to go at a traffic signal stems from one’s belief system. Let me make a few observations. Not everything I believe is important. Not everything I believe is true. Like you, my belief system is complex. It results from a lifetime of informative input by family, friends, books, teachers, church, mentors, and yes—media with its noise, documentaries, and entertainment.

However, amid this informative stream there was one critical moment. I could not escape it. Even as young as I was, the moment of decision was in my face and would not let me go. Did I or did I not believe the message of my childhood Bible? The ultimate truth is only found in God—I am a sinner—and without the gift of my life to Jesus who gave his life for me, I am lost. Isn’t that the difference between life and death?

The decision was mine and mine alone. I either believed or I didn’t. And if I believed, I would need to follow him into the grave of baptismal water and be resurrected like him to eternal life and become his disciple.

Since that baptistry experience over six decades have now past and I continue in the deep waters of I Believe. I would like to think my faith stroke has increased in strength over the years, but my feet have yet to touch the bottom of that childhood plunge.

Over the next few posts, I invite you to swim with me as we examine again and explore anew the waters of belief. I hope we will reach the point where we can shout the words of the late Eugene Peterson in unison as one great chorus, our words are more important than we ever supposed. Saying “I Believe,” for instance makes the difference between life and death.

Stay tuned,

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection on Let’s Begin 2023 With I Believe.




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