What Do You Believe About God?
Last month’s article presented a summary of the first sermon I preached in January 2019: what do you believe about you? In this month’s article I will discuss the question what do you believe about God?
Your belief system is the lens through which you evaluate the world. This is commonly referred to as your worldview. The most important part of your worldview is what you believe about God. I’m not referring to what you claim to believe about God, but rather to what you functionally believe about Him. The value and belief system that you hold greatly impacts the direction of your life. And what you believe about God has a particularly deep influential effect on your daily decisions.
Let’s consider three important beliefs that every Christian should accept as part of his or her worldview.
First, you need to believe that God is faithful. Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”
All parents have heard their children bewail, “But you promised!” when things don’t work out as planned, or worse, when we forget to follow through on a promise. Our recollection of our promises isn’t always quite as keen as our children’s memories. Our kids can be deeply disappointed when we forget a promise. Sometimes we don’t forget, but life causes us to change plans. For instance, a rainy day may cancel an outdoor activity. Nevertheless, our kids trust us to do what we promise. Unfortunately, we sometimes fail to keep all of our promises.
Thankfully, God doesn’t forget His promises, and He is never caught off guard by changing circumstances. God always keeps His Word. When God makes a promise, He will deliver. God’s faithfulness promises that your Heavenly Father will always keep His word. God is faithful, and He will never fail you.
Even the godliest person is unfaithful at some point. The faithfulness of God, however, never wavers. If we can’t trust what God says in His Word then we have no reason to believe in Him. If God doesn’t keep His promises, then our salvation is dubious, and our hope of eternal life is empty. As God’s children, however, we can have great confidence in the faithfulness of our great God.
Please don’t judge God’s faithfulness based on your experience with imperfect people like your parents, friends, spouse, boss, or even pastor. When we promise our children ice cream and forget, or boisterously sing “Lord, I Need You” on Sunday only to ignore God and His Word the rest of the week, we negatively influence our children. These actions undermine trust. Children who have to deal with continual broken promises may later find it difficult to trust the significant people in their lives, including God.
Work on being faithful. Take responsibility for your failures. Learn to put your ultimate trust in God alone, and teach your children how to trust God rather than people. Through the years I have heard far too many stories of how people have been hurt by the unfaithfulness of others. I’m sorry people have failed you and have proven to be unfaithful, but God is holy, and He will never be unfaithful to you.
To live a life of joy and peace you must confidently believe that God is always faithful.
Second, your worldview must believe that God is sufficient. Lamentations 3:24 says, “The LORD is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in Him.”
As parents, we teach our children to be self-sufficient when it comes to taking care of themselves. Kids need to learn to tie their own shoes, make their own meals, remember to do their homework, and keep their rooms clean. We all must learn to be responsible adults. Self-sufficiency is a positive trait when it comes to assuming the responsibility of taking care of yourself, but this trait can be quickly twisted into sinful self-reliance.
Being a responsible adult becomes sinful when we believe that we can be self-sufficient to the point we don’t require any help from anyone, including God. While each person is answerable and accountable for their own responsibilities, no one is truly self-sufficient enough to walk in the abundance of life God has called believers to enjoy. Most importantly, you can’t save yourself from sin. Only Christ is sufficient to redeem you.
In His word, God promises to be our sufficiency and to supply our need. We have the choice to either trust God or to put our trust in our own sufficiency. God’s sufficiency includes every aspect of life. When God is your portion, when He alone is enough, you will find peace, joy, and satisfaction.
In 2 Corinthians 3:5-6 Paul writes, “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant.” In 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 the apostle added, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Because we are finite beings, we don’t have the necessary resources within us to meet all of our needs. God is our sufficiency physically (health, longevity, shelter, food), our sufficiency emotionally (peace, confidence, hope, joy), and our sufficiency spiritually (salvation, sanctification). God is the infinite supplier of the acceptance, strength, wisdom, courage, hope, joy, peace that we long for.
Finally--and I would argue most importantly--you must believe that God is eternally good. Lamentations 3:25-26 says, “The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. 26 It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.”
The goodness of God is a truth we gladly proclaim when things are going well, but find rather problematic when they aren’t. Is God’s character (i.e., His goodness) dependent on whether you get the new job, promotion, raise, or house? Is God’s goodness dependent on your health, bank account, or the size of your friend group?
To live joyfully and confidently you must believe the powerful words of Psalm 119:68, “You are good and do good.” You must believe God is good even when your circumstances scream something different in your ear.
The first half of Psalm 119:68 focuses on the fact that God is, by His very nature, good. That is, God is “morally excellent and extraordinarily beautiful.” God is the definition of good. Goodness comes naturally to God because His character is perfectly good.
In contrast, the failures of people occur because we are not perfectly good. Unlike God, who is holy, we have been tainted by sin; therefore, what we do is not always good according to God’s standards.
The second half of Psalm 119:68 concentrates on what God does (i.e., His actions). The true character of a person is measured by his outward actions. The Bible is filled with passages that point to the failures and weaknesses of mankind. The pages of the Bible are also filled with verses that direct our hearts to God’s kindness, mercy, generosity, steadfast love, and goodness.
God does good to us even when we don’t deserve His goodness.
God is doing good to you even when you don’t believe it or accept it.
How often do you meditate on God’s generosity toward you? Can you believe that when God looks at you with all of your baggage, all of your weakness, all of your failures, and all of your wretchedness, He still says, “I want to be generous to you?” Do you believe that despite your failures and imperfections that God is willing and anxious to pour out His undeserved grace upon you?
God doesn’t do good to you because you deserve it, but because there’s something about His character that always does what is good.
God’s extravagant love is given to you because God, by His very nature, is good.
We struggle with seeing God’s goodness because we fail to understand what ultimate goodness looks like. Our definition of what classifies as good falls far short of God’s.
We call all kinds of things good: “This burger is good. He is such a good friend. That was a good movie.” But all of the earthly things we call “good” are tainted and imperfect. God alone encompasses perfect goodness.
Faith, trust, and hope reassures you that God even intends for your trials to produce ultimate good in your life. God is working all things together so that you will conform to His precious Son. The deep hurts of life can admittedly make you question God’s goodness. Therefore, you must choose to believe that God is always good, even when this doesn’t feel true.
Do you believe God is good?
Do you believe is God good to you?
Do you believe God is trustworthy and faithful enough for you to place your life in His hands?
Are you content to rest in God’s sufficiency?
Is God truly your portion?
If God is good, and He is good to you, you must choose to trust in His faithfulness even when life doesn’t make sense.