Choose to Believe
Most often, believing seems to come naturally to us. We don’t think too much about the things we believe in. Past experience, what seems logical, what’s convenient and what we like all go together to stimulate faith whether in a person or a proposition. Vocal atheists like to proclaim that people of faith are unthinking, but if that is true we are in more trouble than we can imagine.
Belief, faith, trust, call it what you will, that we depend on spiritually can never rest securely on the kind of faith that we use in everyday life. What we believe as Christians is based on a choice. That choice is based on Truth. That Truth is the person of Jesus. And Jesus is the Son of God. Let’s take a few minutes to think about this.
The New Testament contains a variety of commands to believe:
Commands call for a decision. Either we comply or we do not. Decisions call for exploration and weighing of evidence. The fact of the matter is that faith is a choice. Often we thoughtlessly base our spiritual decisions on the same factors which influence our day-to-day decisions, but this shortchanges us. The ramifications of choosing to believe a friend who tells me I can buy something I want at a great discount in another city, ultimately affects a few hours of my time and a few dollars of my resources. The ramifications of choosing to believe that God is the loving, holy, Creator and Sustainer of the universe totally changes my life. At least it should.
What I’ve discovered over the years is that it is all too easy to believe some of Truth (the part about what God will do for me in eternity) and ignore the rest (the part about what God wants to do in my life during the rest of my days). It strikes me as ironic that people can hold so firmly to their belief in specific teaching about the eternal future, while resisting the more general teaching of the Bible about the immediate present.
My question is “How can you trust God to receive you into heaven after you die, when you won’t receive him into your life while you live?” Maybe its because we confuse the idea of getting saved with the idea of getting a passport. There are all kinds of people who get passports and then never use them to travel. They just want to have one “in case.” Having the passport makes no difference as they live. They still function entirely within a couple of hundred mile radius of home, while the passport that would open doors around the world languishes in the bottom of their sock and underwear drawer.
As I’ve learned to choose to believe in God for today as well as for eternity, it has changed my experience significantly. My eyes have been opened to see a whole realm of spiritual reality that I had heard about, but not experienced. Prayer matters. Worship is significant. Change is possible. Spiritual insight strolls in the garden of my mind, though, at first, I might have said it trespassed there. Am I some Spirit filled super Christian? Not on your life. If you were to ask the people closest to me, they could testify at length of my weaknesses and failures.
I don’t usually talk much here about my own spiritual experience, but I can tell you that choosing to trust God for this week as well as for eternity is life-changing. Believing on Jesus is not the end of the journey, but the beginning. And it’s better to think of it as a journey and not a destination. When I thought of it that way, I stagnated spiritually. When I began to think of it as a journey, I started to move forward.
The vast majority of the New Testament writings focus on how Christians should live before we get to heaven and offer only a few little windows about what things will be like for us once we’re there. Let me offer a gentle but passionate invitation to choose to believe.
© Febuary 2009