Falling into the Ice Hole
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life . . . John 3:36
When we first moved to Minnesota, I went through an ice fishing stage and quickly realized that I enjoyed fishing in seven or eight feet of water so I could see the fish. The problem was that a 10-inch hole wasn’t big enough to see much. So, I told my neighbor of my plan to make a much larger hole, which would enable me to see more. He warned me that a bigger hole meant there was a danger of falling in. I believed him – that there was an increased danger – but I didn’t heed the warning.
So, I made a large hole through which I could see everything, which worked really well. As I was getting ready to go home, it was snowing heavily and in collapsing my shelter, I accidentally kept pushing piles of snow into the open hole. With the snow in the hole, I couldn’t see it and ended up falling into it not once or twice, but three times! The third time, I fell in nearly up to my waste, banging my knee on the ice. Wet, freezing, cursing, and in pain, I threw my stuff in the pickup and raced home.
I believed my neighbor’s warning about the danger. It’s not that I thought he was lying. I did not however, practice my belief. I believed, but I wanted to do things my way. This is the story of my life.
In today’s passage, Jesus said that whoever believes in him would find life. Reciprocally, he described those who would not find life. He didn’t say it was those who disbelieved. He said those who find destruction are those who fail to obey him.
True faith is belief that governs our actions. Belief and obedience are not synonymous, but true belief will lead to obedience. We must know right to do right, but just knowing right is not enough. We must live out what we believe if we want to find life.
In my addiction, I knew the truth. I knew I needed to go to treatment and change my life, but I failed to do those things because I wanted to live my way. It wasn’t until I forced my behavior to align with my beliefs that I practiced authentic faith . . . and found recovery.