What If… Belief is not enough?

Posted: May 11, 2011 by Nathan in What If...
Tags: , , , , , ,

I believe in God! You may well believe in God. If we did a survey of people around the world a huge percentage of people would say that they believed in God. Now, I wouldn’t want, in any way, to belittle that belief – but what does belief in God really mean?

I believe in God! However, I also believe in a lot of other things. I believe the sun will rise tomorrow, I believe that Australia exists, I believe that fish finger sandwiches are great and I also believe that grass is normally green. However, what good do these beliefs do me? Whether I believe that Australia exists or not has no bearing on my life. Until, that is, I decide to put my belief into action and go there. Then my belief changes into faith and trust.

Now belief, faith and trust may all sound like the same thing. I guess in some ways we are just talking about semantics. However, the idea behind the semantics belies a very important difference. I like to use the analogy of a chair to try and show the difference. Being a bigger than average person it probably resonates with me more than most but I hope you’ll understand what I’m talking about. When you come across a less than sturdy chair and need to sit on it you sub-consciously may do an assessment on it. Will this chair take my weight? Will it be comfortable? We can look at the chair, wobble it, press down on it and check it’s joints. We may come to a decision that we believe that it will take our weight. It is not, however, until we sit on the chair that our belief that it will take our weight is transformed into trust that it will or faith that it will. Trust and faith are active, involving, doing words. A drowning man may believe that the lifebelt thrown to him from the riverbank will save his life but it is not until he puts his faith in it and reaches out for it that it does him any good at all.

So it is with God. Just believing in God is not enough! Our belief needs to become active, it needs to turn into faith and trust. I used to have a strong belief in God. I even went to church. However, this belief that I had that God existed, that He created the world, that He sent His son to earth in the form of Jesus and the whole host of other things I believed about God had no real connection with my life. I believed in God, but had no trust in Him, put no faith in Him. It took me years to connect this belief to a real faith. I must have walked round and round that chair for years and tested it in every conceivable way before I finally decided that I could trust it to hold my weight and finally sit down. I now see that if you believe in God, if you believe in the God of the Bible it’s an all or nothing situation.

Now, how do I explain this? Most of us believe ( I hope) that in order to keep living we need to eat and drink. The amount that we eat and drink will vary a lot depending on who we are, what kind of week it is and so on. However, we firmly embrace the belief that unless we eat and drink regularly we will make ourselves ill and eventually die. We can’t believe that this is true and then go off and decide not to eat for a month or two – it just doesn’t work that way. Unless we put the belief that we need to eat and drink in order to continue living into action pretty much every day of our lives we will eventually die and the belief would mean nothing. The same is true with a belief in God. If we believe in Him but do nothing about it, it makes our belief meaningless. If we believe that the Bible is God’s tool for revealing himself to us but ignore what it means to our everyday life it makes our belief meaningless. It would be like believing in the rules of the road as laid out by our governments and then completely ignoring them when getting into our car. Not only is it meaningless but also dangerous.

If God exists, if He created this universe and everything in it, doesn’t that deserve more than a notional belief in Him. In many ways believing in God makes no sense unless you are going to take that belief further. If you believe God exists, that He created you and the world you live in, if He is a God of love and not of hate, isn’t it logical to try and learn all you can about Him. If you discover you have a long lost Uncle who wants to share his vast riches with you and so much more besides are you saying that you would believe that he exists but do nothing about it. Either God exists as outlined in the Bible or He doesn’t! There are no other options. Either the Bible is true or it is not! If God exists and the Bible is true God has not only created us but given us a revelation of Himself and what He knows is the best for us. Isn’t that worth looking into? Unless we put our belief into action we are still drowning, still standing up when we could be sitting in comfort or even worse we could be starving ourselves when the solution is at hand.

Next week we’ll take a look at What If… I put my belief into action?

  1. ken ford-powell says:

    good article. Thank you!
    Some thoughts – what about the fact that some disagree exactly what is the Bible and also to what extent we can believe it to be true?

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