The book of James describes God’s Word as a mirror, revealing who we really are. When we catch a glimpse we have a choice what to make. Do we begin to make changes or do we walk away and forget what God revealed? When I approach reading the Bible, I try to really evaluate myself through the lens of His Word. Do I really believe what it says? Am I living according to God’s instruction? Often I discover areas where what I claim as my belief and my what my actions reveal don’t actually line up.
Sometimes I don’t believe what I think I believe. I am convinced that we act according to what we believe. really believe. Deep, gut belief.
It’s like the kid who approaches the rotting bridge in the woods. “I believe I can cross that bridge,” he boasts to his friends. As he approaches the decaying wood he hesitates. He wants to cross the bridge, to have victory over the bridge, but deep down he believes there is a chance he will fall to his death. Or at least get wet, or maybe break a leg. The bridge isn’t that high.
What if I were to boldly tell you that I firmly believe it’s wrong to eat meat, then every time we go out to lunch but I consistently order burgers or the steak and shrimp? Will you continue to think I really I believe it’s wrong to eat meat? No, because my actions reveal otherwise.
So when reading in 2 Corinthians recently and I came across the words, “Since we believe…” I had to stop and ask myself, do I really believe?
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (NLT) Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. 15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.
I like to ask myself questions Do I really believe that Christ died for all? Every person? Do my actions reveal that belief? Do I really believe I have died to my old life? What was my old life, my life before I really gave it all over to Jesus? Have I really given it all over to Jesus? Does my life belong to myself or to Him? What does it mean to not live for myself? What does it mean to live for Christ?
A part of the growing up process is learning to make our own decisions. We want that independence. We want that day when our parents no longer tell us where to go or what to do. We want to be in complete control of our time, our activities, our friends. We desire the freedom to do what we want. A lot of times that means pursuing what we think will make us happy.
It turns out a lot of the things I expected to make me happy, left me feeling empty. I’m reminded of Solomon’s wisdom.
Ecclesiastes 1:8 (NLT) Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content
Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT) Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.
The things of this world leave us unsatisfied. We were made for eternal things, not worldly things. As a result, I believe we need to shift our perspective on growing up, it shouldn’t about gaining the freedom to chase pursuits that ultimately leave us empty. Rather, our goal should be to discover and pursue what God wants for our lives.
How we manage to do that, however, is the subject of next weeks blog.