John 3:16 should be read with 1:12 of the same book. John 3:16 tells us that God gave His only begotten Son to man, and 1:12 says, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the authority to become children of God, to those who believe into His name." How do we obtain this life? It is very simple. God gave and we receive; that is all. Just receive and accept without doubt or fear what God has given. The simpler we are, the better.
Mr. C.H. Spurgeon was a famous British evangelist. Once he was talking to some of his students about prayer. One of them asked how he could know if prayers are answered. He pulled out a gold watch from his pocket and put it on the table. Then he told the students that whoever wanted it might take it.
All the students began to be very excited. Some could not quite believe that such a nice watch would be given away freely. Others thought, "If I stretch out my hands to take it and he decides to pull it back, wouldn’t it be embarrassing?" Another said, "What if he suddenly changes his mind?" After a while a little girl stepped up to Mr. Spurgeon and said, "I want it." Immediately he put the watch into her little hands and instructed her to take good care of it. When all the other students began to regret their hesitation, Mr. Spurgeon said, "When I said that I was going to give this away, I meant it. Why didn’t you believe? What God has given us is something far more precious than the watch; He has given us His Son to be our life. When God is so willing to give, why are we yet hesitant to receive?" Simply believe and receive, and you will obtain the eternal life.
Another person greatly used by the Lord was Mr. F.B. Meyer. At one time he did not realize how Christ can be life to us in the Holy Spirit, nor did he see how to receive this life. One day he was praying on a mountain, hoping that he could obtain the Son of God as life. All of a sudden it occurred to him that all he needed to do was simply believe. He took a deep breath and prayed, "Lord, in the same way that I am breathing in this air, I am exercising my faith to take You in." After he came down from the mountain, he testified to others, saying, "Since that day when I breathed in the Son of God, my life has been totally changed." To receive the Son of God as life is a very simple matter. It is as simple as breathing the air into you.
A friend of mine told me once, "Mr. Nee, I really want to receive the Son of God into my life. I have prayed to God and told Him that I desire to have Christ in me. I was told that when Christ comes into me, I will have a burning sensation within. But when I knelt down, my heart was cold as a rock. And after I prayed, nothing seemed to have changed. How do I know if I really have received the Son of God into me as life?"
I said, "The Bible does not say that a man will feel burning or will remain cold when he receives the Son of God. All that it says is to believe. It is by faith, not by feeling. If you depend on your feeling, you are not believing God’s words; you are making God a liar! When God said He has given, then it is given. It has nothing to do with your feeling."
(The Normal Christian Faith, Chapter 12, by Watchman Nee)