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About this series
Jesus Loves Me
Christian Essentials for the Head and the Heart
Do you know the core beliefs of Christianity? Forget what churches, denominations, or notable pastors say for a second - what do God and His Word actually state are the essential truths to being a follower of Jesus? In this 10-part series, journalist, author, and pastor John Dickerson helps us uncover the foundational building blocks of the Christian faith. By using the simple children’s song - Jesus Loves Me - John reveals what these lyrics tell us about God, His love for us, and the reliability of the Bible. So whether you’re a new Christian looking for guidance or you’ve been a believer your whole life - and you need a refresher, John’s words will encourage you!More from this series
When we say, “Jesus loves me,” what do we mean? What does God see when He sees us? Who are you in the eyes of God? And I think you’re going to be really, really encouraged and informed as we answer that question today.
But what kind of parent is God? You know, in this crazy world of humans where all kinds of people are doing all kinds of things, what kind of parent is He? What does God see when He sees humanity?
You know, because, I mean, if you think of it from God’s point of view, He sees all the drug deals happening, He sees the pregnant mom who is smoking crack cocaine, but He also sees the loving dad who is teaching his daughter how to ride a bicycle. He sees the whole thing. He sees all of it.
To make it a little more personal, what does God see when He sees you? When God looks at you, does He just see all the flaws? Is He like a perfectionist kind of God who has got his arms crossed and is just like, “You know, you’re never going to measure up.” And He only sees all your flaws. Or is He one of those kinds of, you know, bubbly, somewhat Millennial parents who are like, “Oh, everything is perfect with my child!
They don’t do anything wrong, you know?” Like, where is God on this? Does He see the bad, does He see the good, does He see all of me? What does He see when He sees me? And what does He see when He sees you?
Today we are going to play a little game to start with, okay? And the game is called this. The game is called: What do you see? Because we are asking: What does God see when He sees us? So, I want to ask you: What do you see?
And I’m going to show you a few different pictures. And if you want to blurt it out, you can. If you just want to think it, it’s fine. But here’s picture number one. What do you see? And I see some rust, I think I see some plants, some decaying plants. Now, let’s go to picture number two. These are related. Okay, now we are starting to see, at least some of the car people see that that’s either an inline six or maybe a V-12.
We are starting to see something that looks like junk. Now, let’s take another picture. This is a different picture, but a similar theme. And more people are maybe recognizing it now. That’s right, I heard “car” – that’s a split window Corvette. Pretty rare Corvette, pretty valuable Corvette. And last but not least, what do you see? What we have here – two cars, that’s correct – and these two cars were found in a barn in France.
These two cars, that’s a Ferrari and a Maserati, they were found in this barn in France and in this present condition, these cars are rotted and decayed. The brakes don’t work, the engine won’t start, all the rubber pieces have rotted. And, yet, as ruined as they are, these cars are glorious. They are glorious to any car enthusiast because of who made them, because of what they represent.
In fact, did you know this car on the left, this is a Ferrari 250 – this exact car sold in this condition, the magazines were on it and everything. Obviously wasn’t going to start up. So, someone bought a car that is not going to take them anywhere, a car that does not run, and here’s how much they paid for this Ferrari in this condition.
Not two million dollars, but twenty-three million dollars for this Ferrari 250. Why would someone do that? Well, maybe they have too much money, okay? I heard someone say that. That’s probably part of the equation, okay?
But this car is valuable to anyone who loves cars because of who made it and because of what it is. And so, whether or not it can perform, it’s inherently valuable. These cars are what I would call a glorious ruin. They are both glorious in that they are a Ferrari and a Maserati and what they represent and who hand-crafted them. But they are also ruined to some extent. They are decayed.
And this is exactly how God sees you and me and the world we live in. You see, every person around us is a glorious ruin. And just like a car enthusiast would look at that split window Corvette or look at that Ferrari and say, “It’s glorious the way it is. I mean, I would take it the way it is. I would be happy to have it in my garage the way it is, even though it’s ruined.” But a true car enthusiast says, “And I love it so much that I want to restore it back to its original glory. What it was intended to be and to do. It’s valuable whether or not it performs, even in its ruined state, but I would love to restore it.”
And this is how God views all of humanity. That every single person of every gender, of every race, of every belief system, of every political party, people with disabilities, infants, babies in their mothers’ wombs, old people in nursing homes – all of them are inherently valuable because they are made in the image of God, and He sees glory in every person.
And, yet, there’s a catastrophic divorce, a tear that has happened in the fabric of the universe that ripped us away from God. Satan came into this world and this thing called “sin” has separated all of us from God.
And so, we all have this corrosion, this rust, if you will, on us. And we are all ruined to some extent. And God sees both the glory and the ruin in every one of us, and He sees it with the eyes of someone who says, “I love them as they are, but I love them so much that I’d love to restore them to what they could fully be.”
Romans 5, verse 17 puts it this way, “For the sin of this one man, Adam,” who is that? That’s Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden, the beginning of God’s story with humanity. When He said, “I have given you a free will and I want you to be with Me in heaven, eternal life, and no pain or suffering, but you can choose to turn away from Me.” And we saw that Adam and Eve did choose to turn away from God.
And so, just like children who grow up in a home where mom and dad choose to divorce, we didn’t necessarily pick this, but our spiritual ancestors did. And every one of us have been infected by this sin that ripped us away from God. And every one of us, if we are honest, have had a moment where we have chosen to turn away from God in some behavior or some action or some thought. And that has caused death to rule over many.
It’s because of that that our bodies wear out and die. It’s because of this that our relationships sometimes die.
But here’s the good news. Even greater is God’s wonderful grace. What is grace? It’s when you get something that you don’t deserve. And His gift of righteousness.
We looked at the word “loves” in Jesus Loves Me, that God’s love for you is not just some warm, gushy feeling or emotion. It’s a love that was proven in actions. And He proved it when He went to the cross and He said, “I will pay the price to reach her. I will pay the price to reach him.” He paid a lot more than twenty-three million dollars to rescue you in your decayed state, because He sees value in you.
And now this gift of salvation, it’s not something we earn, but we receive it by faith. And when we do, the righteousness of Jesus, the perfection, the holiness of Jesus is applied to us and where we were separated from God, we get restored back to God.
This righteousness is for all who receive it. And those who receive it will live in triumph, victory over two specific things. You can live in victory over sin. That is those decisions and those habits that hurt you and hurt the people around you. Those thought patterns, those addictions, those behaviors that are bad for you and the people around you. Through Jesus, you can have triumph over all those things that God calls sin.
And through Jesus you can have triumph over death, meaning that when your body wears out in this earth, you will wake up in the presence of your Creator and you will look down and you’ll say, “Whoa. I really look good,” because God starts the restoration process for us in our heart, in our soul in this life. And in heaven, actually Scripture says we will have a glorified body. Which, as a car person, is a neat idea, because the body is the outside of the car, the metal of the car, the hood and the doors. That’s all called the body.
And when you restore a car, you start with the engine and the heart and the internals, and the body is the final thing you do. And all this is possible through this Man Jesus, the Christ.
So, what does all this mean for you? Well, if you’re a believer in Jesus it means three things. And if you’re considering believing in Jesus, I want to share these with you today. The first is when you look in the mirror and you say, “Who am I?” you can know this. Well, I’m a glorious ruin and I’m being restored.
So, who are you? You’re not who your co-workers say you are. You’re not who your boss says you are. You’re not how your parents label you or define you. You’re not your GPA or your net worth. You’re not your age or your job title. You are made in the image of God and you are inherently valuable, and no one can strip that away from you. Whether they see it or not, God sees it. The Master of the universe sees it. You’re inherently valuable to Him.
Just as much as me or any other car enthusiast would look at that Ferrari 250 and say, “That thing is inherently valuable.” That’s how God feels about you. And is it true that there’s some ruin in each of our lives? Yes, it is. It is true. Each of us have some habits or some things we have done or things that have been done to us that are broken. And that’s okay. That’s okay, because, you know, apart from God you might think that those things define you. But those things don’t define you. Yeah, those things are part of your story right now, but they will become part of the past as you allow God to continue restoring you. He does the work in this life and He’ll finish it in the next life.
Well, what does all this mean for you? It also means this, that where others see junk, God sees treasure. We have all had those people in our lives who, when they look at us, they only see our flaws. They only see what’s wrong with us. And maybe that person in your life is yourself. Maybe you look in the mirror or your look at yourself and all you can see is what is broken.
Those four pictures I showed you when we played our game, “What do you see?” at first a lot of people thought we’re looking at junk. We are looking at scrap. We’re looking at stuff that should be sent to the junkyard and melted down or buried in the ground, because it has no value.
But a car enthusiast looked at each of those pictures and said, “That is worth tens of thousands of dollars,” or in one case, millions of dollars. In its ruined state, it’s worth that much. And when God looks at you, it’s not that He’s not aware of the areas that still need work in your life, but those don’t define you to Him.
Because He sees your potential. More than that, He sees what you could be, what you should be, what He intended for you to be before sin and death and evil came into this world and into our lives.
This means that your failures are never final, because you are being restored. It means that your addictions, your problems, the parts of you that aren’t where you want them to be yet, the parts of you that you are ashamed of, God knows those parts, but He doesn’t reject you because of those parts. He’s in the process of restoring those parts.
Whether it’s an eating disorder or pornography or an addiction or a magnetic draw to alcohol – those things in your life where you just think, Man, that part of me is so ruined, there’s hope. There’s hope because there’s a capable Restorer and you sit in a room, a movement of people where hundreds of us, thousands now, have seen this restoration process. We have seen God take parts of us that seemed broken beyond repair and change our thought life, change our habits, repair our marriages, restore what was broken. There’s always hope if you stay in the repair shop.
But let’s just explore this idea that every human is a glorious ruin in need of restoration. Where does God’s Word say this? Well, it says that all people are glorious in Genesis 1, verse 27. Let’s look at that verse. And God says this, that He created human beings in His own image. So, this is what separates human from the animal world.
You know, all the other animals, they are beautiful, but they are not made in God’s image. So, they don’t have an eternal soul like you do. And they also don’t have a free will to accept or reject God like you do. Animals, you know, if you feed them enough, they will do what you say. If you feed them, you can train them.
And humans have this God-like ability, we can choose toward God or away from God. That’s called your free will. You are made in the image of God. That means you have an eternal soul. “In the image of God, He created them. Male and female He created them.”
Well, what about that word “ruined?” We are glorious but we are also ruined. Well, Jeremiah the prophet wrote about this in chapter 17 of his book. He says this, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?”
Now, this verse doesn’t mean that a human heart can never be good, but it means that all human hearts have moments when they are bad. And it means that our hearts are deceitful. In other words, your heart will deceive you. My heart deceives me. I have days where I think, Oh, I’m doing this for the right reason, but I’m not, because our hearts are deceptive.
One of the most deadly errors, I think, of my generation as a Millennial, and many of our kids being raised right now, is that we are often told and we heard this, we hear this saying, “Just follow your heart. Just do what your heart tells you.”
And to me, the tragic thing is every year the number of young people in the United States who take their own lives through suicide continues to grow and increase. You know why? Because our hearts, if we are depressed, if we are having a bad day, if we have been bullied, even if we just haven’t eaten enough or slept enough, your heart might tell you to do something evil like take your own life.
And here’s the thing, if your heart tells you to take your life, don’t listen to your heart. If your heart tells you to take the life of someone else, don’t listen to your heart. Our hearts are capable of great good, but our hearts are also capable of great evil. And history testifies to this. We see individuals and nations who followed their hearts into genocide and into war and into the enslaving of other people and into racism and into all sorts of evils. The human heart has the capacity for great good, but it also has the capacity for great evil.
So, what can we do if our own hearts can’t be trusted? Well, we can look to the One who has the power to restore our hearts and to change our hearts.
So, let’s look at this idea of being restored.
Here’s what God says happens the moment that you place your faith in Jesus. When you place your faith in Jesus, you actually get adopted into the family of God, and that’s why this verse says that you belong to Christ. This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person.
And so, now you have a new heart and a new nature. And this verse says the old life is gone. So those old mistakes, the shame and guilt that used to follow you around, that’s in your past now. It doesn’t define you anymore. The things that other people have done to you or how they have labeled you – that’s all in the past now. That doesn’t define you anymore. Who God says is you are a new person and a new life has begun.
“Has begun” has this idea of a process that is started. And so, just like the restoration of one of those classic cars, it doesn’t happen in a day. Go into a high-end shop where they restore these classic cars and sometimes it takes them months or even years to restore it, because they are going to restore every single part.
They are going to start with the heart, which is the engine, and they are going to work their way out. And when you place your faith in Jesus, your identity has changed, your eternity has changed, your heart has changed. And one piece at a time in your life, God is in the process of restoring you.
And what is beautiful is now with the Word of God as our guide, when our heart says, “Here’s what to do,” we can measure it by the Word of God and say, “Is that impulse from my heart a good impulse or a bad impulse according to God? Is that one that leads to life or to death? Is this from my new nature or is that an impulse from my old nature?” And one day at a time, one choice at a time, we start to walk in this new way of life, all possible because of what Christ has done for us.
You see, number three in your outline is this, that Christ begins restoring me the moment I trust in Him. Notice who is doing the action here. Christ is the one changing you. If you feel like there’s an area of your life where you know there needs to be change or improvement and you just think, I can’t do it, then you’re in a really good place.
Because an old car cannot restore itself. And I can’t change myself, but Jesus can change me. My job is one day at a time to show up surrendered and to say, “God, where You have pulled a part of my life off, and it’s on the workbench and You are sanding it down and it hurts and there are sparks, I will stay surrendered to You, because You’re in the process of restoring me and I believe in Your capability as a Master Craftsman.”
You know, when one of those cars, actually, I grew up in Michigan, many of you know, it’s probably why I’m such a car freak. And in our neighborhood, there were a couple old guys who had, like, a separate garage back behind their house and they would have these old cars in there that they were restoring.
So, in the summer I’d be riding around on my BMX bike and I would stop in at these guys’ garages and they’d let me come in and hang out and take these old cars apart. Here’s a picture of the kind of car that some of these guys would have in their garage. This looks like junk, right? Most people would look at that and say that’s junk. This is a Jaguar E-Type. And under this tarp, behind it, are the engine and a number of other parts that are missing. In its current condition, this rotted, ruin of a car is worth eighty thousand dollars. It's a glorious ruin, because of who made it and because of its place in history. This car, worth eighty thousand just like that, but someone loved it enough to spend eighty thousand on it and then to spend a couple hundred more thousand doing this to it.
This is the exact same car, believe it or not. Exact same car. As you can see, the wheels, every single part has gone through a sand blaster where all the corrosion and all the rust gets blasted off of it, and that metal is like raw new metal. And then if it needs to be chromed again, it’s chromed again. It needs to be painted again, it’s painted again.
Whole engine obviously rebuilt and one component at a time, that car is completely rebuilt. And then it’s the same way as we surrender our life to Jesus. We experience joy and peace that we never had before, but there’s also some pain, at times, because God’s is like, I’m going to work on this pride in your life. And He keeps working on your pride and you’re finally like, “I don’t think I can take it anymore.” And then He takes a little break and He comes over here and He works on your lust and then He works on your greed and then He works on those deep wounds from your past that you didn’t choose but someone else did to you, but they still define you. And He’s got to rub those wrinkles out of your fenders. He’s got to straighten you out and it hurts, but it’s worth it, because you are being restored. And you have these moments, these glimpses where you see the progress that is happening. And this is called the Christian life.
This is why we stay faithful when it’s hard to keep going to church. Maybe there are times you don’t feel like going to your small group or you don’t feel like serving, but you keep doing those basic things because you know that’s what keeps you in the repair shop. It’s what keeps you in God’s hands so He can keep working on you.
Well, one of my buddies back in Arizona is a high-end Porsche restorer. His name is Victor. And Victor actually attended in Germany a university called Porsche University, run by the automaker Porsche. And so, Victor specializes in a few years of air-cooled Porsches. And that’s all he does.
And Victor has this really neat shop and he’s got these customers who will buy a barn-find car, like the kinds we looked at, and they will pay a bunch of money for it and they will ship it to him and then he will spend a year or two restoring just one or two cars at a time.
He’s very surgeon, precision-like in the way he does this. And so, this is a picture, actually, from Victor’s engine room where he works on the engines. It’s kind of a sealed off room. And I remember this time in particular, when I lived in Arizona, this is from a Porsche 911. And the Porsche 911, for about a year, was sitting there in his shop and he had pulled the engine out and for about a year, it didn’t look like any progress was happening, because the car was still rusty, the interior was still rotted out, there were dents all over it, different colors of paint on it. But in the engine room, Victor was doing this. He was taking apart the top end and he took apart every single component in that engine. Every screw, every valve, every camshaft. Every single part got completely reconditioned back to the original specifications.
And this is exactly what God does with us. God starts with us in the heart – the engine – and He works His way out. And He keeps changing us. And whether you have been a Christian for three days or thirty years, maybe you’re ninety-five years old and you got saved when you were four. There are still parts of us that can be refurbished and restored. And then that day is going to come when we breathe our last breath on earth and we wake up and we look down and we are like, “Yes, finally. Finally! We’re going to have glorified bodies. That’s the final finishing touch.
And depending on your age, you know, some of us who have health conditions or are further along, that glorified body gets us really excited. If you’re young and healthy, in thirty years it will make sense, okay?
But the point is this: God is going to keep working on us. And so, I want to ask you this: Where do you need God’s restoring power in your life right now? I mean, maybe it’s a broken relationship. And you’re just like, “I don’t even know how to be Jesus to this person. I’m just so frustrated in my marriage.” Or, “I’m so frustrated with that child.” Or, “Just so frustrated with that co-worker.” And you know what? It’s an opportunity to say, “God, I need You to restore me toward that person.” Or, “God, I need You to restore my faith, that You’re working on that person and I don’t have to fix them, because You are going to fix them. You’re the only one who could. And so, give me patience to accept that I can’t change them, but I can trust You for my journey.”
Where do you need God’s restoring work in your life? Maybe it’s in your thought life. Maybe it’s your sense of purpose, that you have something that gets you out of bed in the morning and you know that God made you for a purpose. Maybe it’s your perfectionism. You know, some of us have this perfectionistic tendency where we only see our flaws. Or, in your house, you only see the flaws of the people around you. That’s such a devastating trait. Maybe it can be a strength in some disciplines in the workplace, but at home, it’s really hard to live with a perfectionist. Ask my wife, okay?
And you know what? This has implications for our perfectionism, for those of us who struggle with that. Because we realize, you know what? The people around me don’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to be perfect. All we’ve got to do is be in the hands of the restorer.
It has implications for the areas of your life where you’re just hopeless. Where you feel like you are hopelessly broken, or someone you love is hopelessly broken. You know what? There is no ruin that is beyond repair in the hands of Christ. He’s a master restorer.
Next question: Do you know for sure that you’re in the repair shop? Do you know for sure that you have had a moment of surrender in your life and you have been wheeled by God into His restoration shop?
Part of you being made in the image of God is that you have that free will. And if you want to slam on the brakes and say, “No, God, You can’t work on me,” He will respect that. Have you had that moment where sometimes we call it salvation, where you have said, “God, I do need Your help, I want Your help, Jesus, I believe in You. Will You change me? I give You permission, every area of my life, anything You need to disassemble, anything You need to sand down, anything You need to work on, You can work on it because I trust You.” Have you had that defining moment in your life? And if you haven’t yet, you can have that moment today.
Ephesians chapter 2 puts it like this. It says, “God saved you by His grace when you believed.” In other words, you are saved by your faith. You are saved by God’s grace, which is expressed through Your faith.
So, we don’t have to earn our way to heaven. And some of us were raised with this idea of, you know, you’ve got to do more good deeds than bad deeds. Your good needs to outweigh your bad. But we have learned in God’s Word that God says, “No human can do enough good to outweigh the bad.” The only human who was perfect was Jesus.
And so, what happens is when you place your faith in Jesus, His goodness, His perfectness gets applied to you. So, salvation, getting into the repair shop doesn’t happen by your striving, it happens by your surrendering and saying, “Jesus, be my Savior.” God saved you by His grace when you believed. Belief, faith.
And you can’t take credit for this. I can’t take credit for the areas where God has restored my life. He is the One who has done it. It’s a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. In other words, no car in a museum that has been completely restored can say, “Look at me. I did this to myself!”
There’s a Restorer who did it. Now, check out the next part of this verse. It says that we are God’s workmanship.
Completely restored. Why? Because of the work of a workman. We are God’s masterpiece. And He has created us, this is written to believers, anew, restored, the way it was originally intended. Original specifications. And that happens in Christ Jesus.
And why did He do this? Well, He did this so we can now do the good things He planned for us long ago.
So, we looked at that Ferrari in the barn and we said, “This car can’t drive. It can’t go around a racetrack. It is valuable just because of what it is, not because of what it can do. But once it’s restored, now it’s valuable because of what it is and it can do things.
And here’s the thing. As God starts to restore you, He will put you on a racetrack. And you’ll start to zoom through life and do things that you never could have done before. But you’re not doing these things to try to buy God’s favor or out of shame or guilt. You’re doing them because that’s what you were created to do, and it’s the most fulfilling thing.
It might be in the area of mercy or hospitality or compassion. It might be helping people, it might be giving, it might be serving, it might be teaching, it might be administration. He has gifts for you and it’s as you allow Him to restore you that He wires you up so you can zip around the racetrack of life. You have a Restorer who has great compassion.
Well, I was reading this last week some stories about rescue dogs. And I want to show you a picture of a rescue dog. This rescue dog is named Gretchen. This is Gretchen when she was found. You can see nearly starving, definitely starving, nearly starving to death. And this is Gretchen after she was adopted into a home and she was rehabilitated.
Here’s what Gretchen’s owner writes about her.
She says, “When I saw Gretchen on the adoption listing, I knew I needed to meet her. The rescue owner, the person who ran the rescue place, didn’t know her story but I was determined to give her the home she deserved. Well, in the first few weeks we realized she didn’t know what a leash was, she wasn’t spayed, she wasn’t potty trained. She was a lot of trouble. She escaped constantly.
She ruined my expensive things, she barked and whined all night.” And then the owner says this, “Almost three years later, she’s a completely different dog. She is rehabilitated. She runs around now and plays with her toys and her friends. She is good on a leash, she’s a star in our neighborhood, she has brought so much joy to my life and I don’t know where I’d be without her.” The owner says this, “I can’t be one hundred percent sure how she feels since she’s a dog, but I hope she feels the same way that I do, that she has changed my life.”
I love reading those stories, because when I was twelve years old, I got a rescue dog named Casey. Casey was a white Samoyed. I couldn’t find a picture of Casey, but this is what they look like. They are sled dogs. And when we first got Casey, she was really skittish and afraid, especially of men. She had clearly been kicked or beaten or abused. But over time, Casey warmed up and some of her flaws went away. But one of her flaws never did. Casey was a runner.
Maybe you have had a dog that’s a runner. Like, if the door is open, boom, she’s out. She was just a runner. In fact, I remember the very first day we got Casey; I was twelve. And you can imagine how scrawny I was as a twelve-year-old. And I was twelve and I was so excited, I got her for my birthday, I was like, “Yes! I got a dog!” I was so happy. I put Casey on a leash, I go out the front door, and I kid you not, she took off, you know? And they are sled dogs. And I held onto the leash and she just dragged me across the entire driveway. I finally let go of the leash. I was laying there bleeding and crying. And one of my older brothers ran after her. That’s how me and Casey’s relationship started.
And you know what? Over the years, Casey and I, we really got close and she was an amazing dog and most of her quirks from her past worked out. But here’s the thing about Casey. She never stopped being a runner, so we had to be really careful anytime we let her out. But even though that never changed about her, I never stopped loving her.
Maybe you’re here today and you have spent your whole life running from God. He brought you here today to tell you that no matter how much you run, He’s never going to stop loving you.
No matter what parts of your life haven’t changed or you feel like can’t change, He doesn’t give up on you. He wants to bring you into His house. He wants to restore You. And no matter how much you run, He desires to rehabilitate you, to rescue you, to make you just a better, healthier, stronger version of yourself. He wants to have you in His house for all eternity and give you eternal life.
Well, how do you know for sure that you’re in His house? How do you know for sure that you have allowed Him to start rehabilitating you or restoring you? Romans 10, verse 9 tells us how. It says very simply if you openly declare that Jesus is Lord, and if you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
It’s as simple as that. No magical passphrase, there’s no money you have to give to any church, there’s no list of good deeds you have to do. It starts in the heart of just saying, “Jesus, I do believe You are God.” It’s okay if you still have questions about God. I mean, I started believing Jesus was God before I was sure there was a God. Sometimes these things are out of order.
But you just, from the heart, say, “Jesus, man, I do want to believe in You. I do need Your help. Help my unbelief.” My faith wavered and wobbled so much when I started on this journey, but He kept working on me. All He needed me to do was take my foot off the brake and He just pushed me right into His repair shop.