Knowledge or beliefs? To know something is different than to believe something. We may know that foods high in fat are bad for our cholesterol, or that sugar weakens our immune system, or that 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise three times a week is good for our heart. To have knowledge is not enough because knowledge does not require commitment. But, what do we believe? When we believe in something it will change the way we live. We will act upon our beliefs. Our lives will validate what we truly believe by how we live. Our actions are a result of our beliefs.
The same is true for our faith. There is often a chasm between what people know and confess and what their lives actually profess. Many people call themselves Christians. Some show up for church on Sunday and then live in opposition to what they confess during the rest of the week. Some think because they live in America they are Christian. Or, if they wear a cross necklace or have a Christian bumper sticker they’re good. The name “Christian” seems to have become a brand or label void of meaning. Merely wearing the name “Christian” is not the same as “believing” in Christ.
James 2:19 tells us, "You believe that there is one God, Good! Even the demons believe that and shudder." Even Mark 3:11 & 5:7 also tell us that evil spirits testify to who Christ is by declaring he is the Son of God. What irony. If we have the right doctrine and knowledge of God then our faith at least measures up to what the demons confess. Does this comfort you? Having mere knowledge of God is useless, unless it transforms the way we believe which will influence the way we live. Knowledge and mental assent is not enough.
We may have knowledge of Christ’s death on the cross as payment for our sin, but until we acknowledge and personally accept what Christ did on the cross, we are still caught in unbelief. If there is no action as a result of what we believe, then our beliefs are not active, they are not life changing, as James' says this kind of faith is dead. When our lives have been changed by the blood of Christ we will desire to obey His Word and His will for our lives. In essence, to believe is to obey. Our belief in Jesus should motivate us to obey God because we are compelled by His great love for us.
We cannot genuinely have faith/believe and never have any evidence of it. If we have faith it will be evidenced by the way we live because faith transforms our life. We cannot wear the name Christian without living the life. If we genuinely believe it will demonstrate itself because that is the nature of faith.
Make time this week to read about the heroes of faith found Hebrews 11. Notice the verbs mentioned in each case and how the persons belief influenced what they did. After reading this, consider what Jesus might say to our generation? What would He say of your faith/belief?
Is there a gap between what you confess and what your life professes? What effect does your belief have on your actions?
Heart Changing Word:
John 14:15 (NIV) "If you love me you will obey what I command."
Hebrews 11:6 "Without faith it is impossible to please God."
James 2:22,24 "You see that Abraham's faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone."
Copyright 2010 by Hester Christensen. All rights reserved.