Does it really help you out if you are said to believe something? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.
So many times in church services I often hear that the point of Jesus doing such and such or God telling us such and such is that we will have faith. In one sense, this is true and noble, but in the sense that I suspect most people use this term, I do not think that it is noble at all. Most people think of faith as just believing in something. As I have argued, faith is really more akin to an active trust in someone.
Imagine a person who said they believed entirely that travel by airplane was safe, yet when it came a time that this person needed to make a long trip, he refused to act on that and instead chose to drive or take some other means of transportation. Picture someone who said he believed that his doctor was right on what was necessary for his health, but at the same time refused to ever act on the advice of the doctor. Would we count any of those as good positions to have?
In the same way, let’s suppose that you believe God exists. Let’s suppose you believe the Bible is the Word of God. Let’s suppose you believe Jesus has all the attributes of God. Let’s suppose that you believe Jesus rose from the dead. Does that count anything to your credit?
It doesn’t? Look at what James tells you! James tells us that the demons believe that there is one God, and they tremble! The sad reality is that many who claim to be Christians do less about the reality of God than the demons do. Isn’t it a shame that according to Scripture, demons take the reality of God more seriously than Christians do?
Of course, all Christians should believe those truths, but that does not mean that believing those truths alone will make a difference. What good will it do you to believe in a truth that you will not act on? If anything, your situation is made worse by your believing those claims. After all, what benefit does it do you to believe in a truth and then act as if that is not really true or that it does not matter. You believe that Jesus is the resurrected Lord? Okay. What good does that do if you don’t live like He’s the resurrected Lord?
When faith is seen as trust, then we are getting to what it is that we need. When Christians start not just saying that they believe something but start living like they believe something, then the differences that need to take place will occur. You believe Jesus is Lord? Then live like you’re supposed to spread the Kingdom? You believe God is the one who you should seek to know the most? Then actually consider learning more about him than your favorite TV show or sports team. You think the Bible is the greatest book of all? Then do yourself a favor and actually study it and treat it like a a piece of literature instead of treating it simplistically.
If you can get someone to believe something, then that is good. Life does not stop with just belief though. We must get people to learn to act according to belief and learn all the ramifications of what it is that they believe and what difference it makes. When belief itself is treated as a virtue, people are tempted to stop right there. Belief is not a virtue. Living in active trust, true faith, is.