Belief is Not Enough

I heard a guy the other day in a casual conversation say, “Of course I believe in God…”  His statement got me thinking.  There are probably a ton of people who would agree with that statement.  In fact, as a culture we have been conditioned to assent to the idea of a higher power.  But belief in “God” or a higher power should never be misunderstood as faith.

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Simple belief is just the beginning…not the goal.

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.”  – James 2:19

I have met people who are sold out and in love with the Savior.  I’ve met people who are more concerned with the rules of God than anything else.  I’ve met others who attend a church service a few times a year in order to legitimize their “belief” in God.  Still there are others who say they love God, attend church all the time and hate every person with whom they come in contact.

Here’s the deal: Obedience is my act of love towards God.  It’s more than just the talk.  I can talk all day long about how I respect God, believe in God, think God’s cool, call Him “the Man upstairs,” and never really know Him or love Him.  Real love changes things.

Let me give an example: I love my wife.  My love for her causes me to act in ways that honor and cherish her.  I don’t get it right all the time but there is a trend…a pattern of actions that truly reveal just how much I love her.

Imagine, however, if I said:
“Wendy, of course I believe in you…I just don’t want to have dinner with you once a week.”
“Of course I believe in you…but I don’t have time to talk to you for 5 minutes each day.”
“Of course I believe in you…I just don’t want anyone else to know that we’re together.”
That’s not real love.  That’s not even respect.  That’s convenience.

A belief that is convenient is nothing more than worshipping myself.  It’s like trying to cover all of my bases.  “Well, I want to make sure that God knows that, even though I may have never let Him change my life, I at least believed in Him.”  “Of course I respect God…I just don’t let Him run my life.”

I allow my love for my wife to change me.  In fact, because my love is strong, I can’t help but be changed by it.  So as a busy husband, I have to constantly remind myself to make sure that my wife knows that I love her through how I act towards her.  And it’s not a chore.  It’s a privilege.

As a busy follower of Christ, I have to ask God to constantly remind me to live in a way that pleases Him.  Not because it’s a chore and it’s my “duty.”  It’s because I truly love God and I desire to live a life that reflects the difference He’s made in my life.  I want His priorities (His church, His mission, His world) to become my priorities.

Belief in God is just the beginning of faith…not the goal.

If you love me, you will obey what I command.” -Jesus, John 14:15

-J

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