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Only believe, but IN who?
by Don Beers
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“You can do anything if you believe in yourself.”

I’ve heard some pretty silly things in my 51 years of life, but this one ranks up there in the Top 5 of the all-time Absurd Beliefs list.

It may sound good and saying it may bring a (false) sense of comfort to some people. But, it just ain’t so.

When those in the world say it, I don’t have a real problem with it. Not having the light of scripture, I don’t expect anything else from them. But, when it finds its way into the realm of the Kingdom of God, then I take issue with it.

Being the kind of man that I am though, I have to plead with the Spirit to bridle my tongue or else I may be “slow to hear and quick to speak.” I’ve had to learn and often need to be reminded that my anger, though justified, may not be beneficial or timely. It’s not been an easy lesson for me. I’m easily angered when I see or hear someone believing something that is literally killing them.

We don’t have to look too far to find the error of this doctrine. Yes, I said “doctrine”, because that’s precisely what it is. Not all doctrine is good. The word simply means “teaching” and Lord knows there’s an abundance of that in our technological days.

Be that as it may, the idea that I can do anything if I believe in myself is wrought with heretical innuendoes.

First of all, it makes me equal with God. I can do the impossible. I can raise the dead. I can part the sea. Dead bones will live at the sound of my voice. Lazarus would be my new best friend after I overlook the stench of his rotting corpse and simply call his name.

Now, I’ll admit I’ve not heard this said by any believers that I know personally, but we Christians have a funny way of incorporating into our belief system something we’ve heard from the world and not wanting to appear irrelevant we adopt their clichés and put a religious twist to it.

“God believes in you.” Is the way we say it and it’s just as ridiculous and perhaps more heretical. I guess I bought the wrong bible, because I’ve never seen any such teaching in mine, neither have I been able to read it into the version of the bible I do have. Maybe I’ll just have to be content with being old fashioned. To say that God believes in anything implies that there are some things He doesn’t know for sure. You can take that precarious path if you choose too.

As for me? Well, I’ll just be a content antique and always believe that God knows it all and He knows that “apart from Him” I will most assuredly mess up whatever religious endeavor I attempt.

When I was a younger man, hungry for knowledge of God, I would frequent the local Christian bookstore and there were times I would spend an inordinate amount of our grocery money on books.

But, now, it’s gotten to where I will seldom go to the bookstore. The shelves are just a little too full of “it’s all about me” books than I care to endure. The upside is, there’s more food in our house.

Books on “how to” have a godly marriage, when fewer and fewer of those publications talk about dying to self and serving my wife. A majority of those books are full of “if you do this, she’ll do that.” If you look just a bit deeper at the content you’ll discover that it’s really a subtle form of manipulation. A biblical (gasp) way of behaving so my spouse will treat me the way I want to be treated. They sound good, but still, the emphasis is on ME.

Volumes of literature fill those shelves on how to fill our stomachs. Hiding behind a religious veil we are told that eating healthy food is godly, but a little closer perusal of such doctrine we’ve not far to go to see that once again the emphasis is on the creature much more than the Creator. Fill your stomach with godly food does not equate to filling your hearts with His word so that He alone becomes our appetite.

Of course, you are certainly free to disagree. I don’t slight anyone for having and keeping a wrong opinion.

Book after putrefied book tell us “how to” be people of faith. If and when God doesn’t do this or that after we’ve jumped through all of His hoops we are chastised for not having enough faith. As if to say that faith is something we can conjure up from within.

You’ll hopefully pardon me for my theological ignorance, but somewhere I got the idea that Jesus was the Author of whatever faith I have for whatever situation I may find myself in. But, those books make it appear as if God the Son has no choice but to be sure I have an ample supply of faith at my disposal in order to get Him to keep His word.

Once again, an acute inspection of such texts has it that God is now subject to my faith. Because, if I believe enough, He has no choice but to submit to my will and that makes me God and makes Him so human that I can’t imagine even daring, much less wanting to, worship Him.

Down the street from our house there is a religious facility with a reader board out front. Written, I believe, as an attempt to lure in the damned, are the words; “Give yourself a chance. Give Jesus a chance.”

Excuse me, but I’ve read that “…you have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you”, but their effort to recruit converts sure makes it sound as if I’ll be doing a Heaven sent beggar a huge favor if I choose Him and fulfill His pathetic wish for more followers if I just jump in line.

The reason I don’t care for their particular advertisement is because Jesus and the word “chance” are two words that don’t belong in the same sentence, unless we say that being “God the Son, Jesus, knows nothing of chance, but is in total control of all that He has created.” Your salvation and mine were not left by God to chance. If that’s true then we need to edit the word “election” out of our bibles.

Fewer and fewer words are being expressed that may cause us to worship Him and more and more is being said that makes me want to worship ME. Sorry, but every problem I’ve ever had in my pitiful life has come from my desire to worship myself.

I really don’t care to go back to it again, if it’s all the same to you.

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