And Jesus said to the centurion, "Go your way; let it be done to you as you have believed." And the servant was healed that very hour. (Matthew 8:13)
"And these signs will accompany those who have believed; in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it shall not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." (Mark 16:17,18)
What we believe is very important, because it dictates our behavior. We may say we believe the words in the Bible, but James tells us that even the demons believe. To believe without proving it by our behavior is useless (James 2:19,20).
How can we believe the Scriptures so our lives reflect our belief? What can we do to strengthen our belief?
Our concept of belief may be turned around. We may have been told we must believe a certain way, and we strain to make that belief a reality. We are told that unless we believe a certain way we can't be a Christian. That simply isn't true.
We become Christians by accepting the blood of Jesus Christ as redemption for our sins. From that point, Jesus builds a belief system in us, depending upon the depth of our relationship with Him. The stronger the relationship, the deeper our ability to believe.
It is an inescapable fact that what we believe accompanies (follows) us. Things happen to us as we believe. It is also a fact that we have very little to do with what we believe.
From infancy, our belief system has been programmed into us. Our beliefs developed as those in authority spoke their beliefs into our lives. We grew up adapting the beliefs of others to our lifestyle, whether those beliefs were right or wrong.
We learn Christianity the same way. We attempt to believe what all Christians are expected to believe: the Bible is true; God's promises are true; we can trust God to guide, direct and protect us, and to supply us with our needs. Nobody has told us we are incapable of such belief.
The key to the Christian belief system is not in what we believe, but in Who we believe. We concern ourselves with what we believe, and we try to replace our incorrect beliefs with correct ones, according to Scripture. This is a frustrating exercise.
We have the same problem trying to become a better person. It is impossible to become better by trying to become better. We may be temporarily successful, but eventually our old selves return to the surface. This is because we are temporal beings, restricted to temporal, or temporary capabilities.
Only one Person is capable of making permanent change in us. That is Jesus Christ, through the power of His Holy Spirit. Only the spirit is permanent; therefore, the spirit must be involved in permanent change.
The sooner we drop trying to strengthen or alter our beliefs, or trying to become better people, the better we will be. When we are occupied trying to make personal changes, our focus is upon ourselves. We become so caught up in our project to please God, that we have no time for God. We're no better than the Far East navel gazer in his search for Nirvana.
We really need mental and moral commitment to Jesus Christ. We need to fix our focus upon Him and trust Him to change us. Because we have the knowledge of good and evil, and because we are so performance oriented, we do everything but flagellate ourselves in an effort to please God.
Because of the marvelous information we received in the garden of Eden, we recognize the evil within us, and we certainly know the good that will offset it, so we busy ourselves doing good works to win brownie points from the Lord.
While we are busy in this major project, the Lord keeps bringing a minor character flaw to the surface. It is something He wants released to Him, but it is so insignificant in our eyes that we barely give it a second glance. We don't understand that we can't go any further with God until we handle what He places before us. We forget that obedience is better than sacrifice.
We accomplish nothing by believing certain things; we accomplish everything by believing Jesus Christ. Our responsibility is to get to know Christ, to develop a personal relationship with Him. When that occurs, He begins to change our characteristics, including our belief system. When we try to accomplish this ourselves we bring confusion and chaos into our lives and the lives of those around us.
We must always remember, what we believe, depends upon who we believe, and what we believe follows us all the days of our lives.
Jesus is King!
P.S. What are you doing of eternal value?
Question for today: What I believe follows me; what is following me?