What Do You Believe?
We are already one month into 2019. How are you doing so far? As a church, we began the year with a two-part series that asked the question, “What do you believe?” Your spiritual condition and viewpoint from which you view life will have a powerful impact on you in the coming year. In fact, we studied the idea that what you believe about yourself and God will have a greater impact on you in 2019 than your circumstances.
Will you have joy in 2019? It depends on what you believe.
Will you have hope in 2019? It depends on what you believe.
Will you have peace in 2019? It depends on what you believe.
Will you have confidence in 2019? It depends on what you believe.
Hints of the inconsistencies that exist between what is biblically true and what we believe slip out of our mouths every day. Just listen to the words you speak. Whether spoken or unspoken, our words betray our belief system. Analyze the thoughts you think. Our thoughts frequently betray us and reveal what we truly believe. There is often a great discrepancy between what we claim to accept as truth and what we actually believe.
What you believe in the depths of your heart is what I call your functional beliefs. What you merely say you believe will have little influence in your life. Your functional beliefs determine the direction of your life. The functional beliefs that you hold determine your philosophy of life and will direct your decisions.
In this month’s article I will summarize the first sermon I preached in January 2019: what do you believe about you? Next month, I will summarize the sermon, what do you believe about God? In April, I will offer the third installation of the series: what do you believe about life? It’s extremely important that you have proper functional beliefs in these three areas, and I pray these articles help you assess your belief system.
What are your functional beliefs about you? Take a moment and jot down five to ten things you believe about yourself. Read your list and consider how your beliefs coincide with biblical truth. Normally, what we believe about ourselves is not in full agreement with Scripture.
Let’s consider three truths you need to cling to about yourself.
The first functional belief you need to develop is that you are loved. Many people have a difficult time believing they we loved by anyone, particularly God. But I encourage you to cling to Isaiah 43:4 where God says, “You are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you.” While you may not feel lovable, God loves you all the same. While you may not feel you deserve anyone’s love--especially God’s--He loves you all the same.
Perhaps you have convinced yourself that God doesn’t love you. You may not feel loved, but God loves you regardless of how you feel. It’s possible that when you look at the difficulties in your life that you have concluded that God’s love is absent. But friend, God loves you even in the midst of trials. Do you live confidently believing that God loves you? Is this precious truth one of your functional beliefs? You may claim to believe this fact, but do you steadfastly accept this truth and live a God-loves-me kind of life?
The second functional belief you need to develop is that you are cared for. I discussed this topic in more detail in last month’s article, but I will offer a synopsis here as well. It’s not uncommon for people to feel as if no one cares. People hurt us, disappoint us, and even abandon us. But God is unlike people. He has promised, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you” (Isaiah 43:2). In the fifth verse of Isaiah 43, God adds, “Fear not, for I am with you.”
We all experience difficulties in life. Have you ever felt all alone in the midst of your trials? Perhaps God seems so far away right now. Perhaps you’re wondering if anyone really understands or even cares about you. It’s possible that you have convinced yourself that God doesn’t care about you. Maybe you feel isolated and shunned in this challenging world. No matter your life situation, you must confidently believe that God cares. Do you live confidently believing that God cares about you? Is this precious truth one of your functional beliefs? You may claim to believe this fact, but do you confidently accept this truth and live a God-cares-for-me kind of life?
The third functional belief you need to accept is that God is willing to save anyone who repents. The issue of salvation needs closer examination than the first two required because salvation is dependent on your relationship with Jesus. God loves all people and He cares for all of humanity. You are definitely loved by God. Your Creator absolutely cares for you. God’s love and care for you are facts you can count on. Salvation, however, is not quite so simple.
The bad news is you, like the rest of us, are sinful and rebellious by nature. In Romans 3:23 the Apostle Paul writes, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” You are a sinner, but the good news is, God is ready to forgive you of your sin. God sent His Son to save you, not condemn you. In Romans 3:24 Paul says that sinners like you “are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” While you cannot save yourself from your sin, Jesus Christ can. God didn’t send His Son to save you because you are important, gifted, or amazing, or because you are the center of the universe. God sent His Son because of who He is, not because of who you are.
Knowing that God loved you enough to send His Son to die for you on the cross is more powerful than anything anyone could ever say or do for you. God redeems those who put their faith in Christ for salvation. If you have believed in Christ for your salvation, then you have been permanently adopted into the family of God. The grace and mercy of God are available for salvation, but it doesn’t end there. His grace and mercy are available to you every day. As Christians, we seem to believe in God’s grace and mercy for salvation, but fail to rest in His grace and mercy on a daily basis. Do you confidently live believing that Jesus has saved you from your sin? If you have not received Jesus as your Savior, you can’t have confidence in your salvation. Confidence in your eternal salvation begins when you accept God’s gift of salvation. You may claim to believe this fact, but do you confidently accept this truth and live a God-saved-me-from-my-sins kind of life?
What you believe about you will greatly impact your life. It will influence your joy, peace, and confidence. When trouble arises, what you believe about who you are will impact how you maneuver through the turbulence of life.
Are you loved? YES!
Are you cared for? YES!
Are you saved? MAYBE… If no, come to Christ today and enjoy the wonders of salvation. If yes, than confidently live a redeemed life.