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What Do I Believe?
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Really? I am hopefully not that egotistical that I think you truly care what I believe because deep down it doesn’t really matter. What matters most is what we believe for ourselves. Please let me explain with the following story:
I recently had a knock on my door one late morning just after Christmas. Since I was on vacation just relaxing with my family, I hadn’t gotten out of my lounge pants and t-shirt yet, hadn’t showered or shaved, I hadn’t even combed my disastrous bed head, so I had no choice but to answer the door looking pretty disheveled. I’m sure the two individuals who were standing at my door were a little shocked that I greeted them this way but they appeared to ignore it and moved quickly into what they wanted to say. The reason they had come seeking my attention was to tell me about Jesus. Well, I love any opportunity to talk about Jesus and so I quickly invited them into the entryway of my home, which is a small little square corner where we can hang our coats and kick off our shoes before invading the rest of our abode.
As I stood there with them now in my residence I smiled, nodded and listened intently until they were done with their “sales pitch”, and asked me if I had any questions. I said I did and asked if they could pardon me for a moment while I went to grab my bible. Within seconds, I returned and was asking them in a warm friendly and positive tone what they thought about a few certain scriptures in relationship to what they had just shared with me. What came next was a shocker (well not really, I rather expected it and that’s why I had chosen to stand between them and the door in hopes I could politely share with them as much as I possibly could) - they didn’t want to discuss it. In fact, the more I started quoting scripture and showing them where in the Bible I was referring, the more they seemed agitated and quickly asked if they could leave. I obliged but encouraged them with remarks to study the word for it would help in their mission of reaching souls.
What astonished me most (and my wife who had been in the living room with our kids over hearing the whole conversation) was that these were individuals, who had come to my door uninvited asking me if I wanted to have a discussion about Jesus and as soon as I pointed out some things that contradicted what they just said, which they didn’t agree with or believe, they ran like their feet were on fire. I’m not sure what they were afraid of, perhaps that I would in a short period of time be able to brain wash them and take complete control over their motor functions and make them obey my every command (which by the way has never worked on anyone I’ve tried it on in the past).
So what was it? I think it was this: they didn’t want to know what I believed, they only wanted to express what they believed and to have me swallow it without thinking (kind of sounds like they may have been government workers but I know they weren’t). This unfortunately is what most people want. They don’t want their beliefs to be challenged and I have to ask the resounding question WHY?
Why are we afraid that someone will ask us what we believe and begin to question us regarding its validity? Could it be that even though we may express that we believe something, once we encounter rational thought and questions regarding it, we’re afraid that we may see cracks or flaws in what we thought we believed and if of course we see these things then maybe we shouldn’t believe them and if that’s true then what do we believe?
I cannot answer that question for you. In other words, I can’t tell you what to believe. The only answer possible is that we must determine for ourselves what to believe. Moreover, the only way to determine what to believe for ourselves is to do the necessary research. Oh but research is work and most of us don’t like work and in fact we avoid it, hence this is another reason people are so indecisive about what they believe. Scripture even acknowledges that it is up to us to put in the work to determine for ourselves what to believe with quotes such as: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2-Timothy 2:15 KJV) and “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12 KJV)
On the other hand, I know that there can also be a lot of misleading research or information out there and how do you then decipher through all that? Well the key in relationship to the research is also to rely upon experience, first our own and then the experience of others. I say first our own because our on experiences cannot be taken from us. They cannot be refuted because they are ours. We then examine the experiences of others to see if they also line up with the information or if there are gaps between the two.
Once we have gathered the majority of the pieces of the puzzle through proper research and experience we then have a basis upon which we can properly formulate our beliefs. If by chance through this process we have stumbled upon a correct belief for our lives then nothing we encounter will be able to shake it. I’m not talking about stubbornness here; I’m talking about correct principles and beliefs. Sure, we can do research and experience certain things but they still could be proven wrong over time when we gather further information and encounter new experiences, but true beliefs and principles are unchangeable through both.
I would encourage you today to go ahead and start stating what it is you believe and be willing to be questioned about it. Rather than running off at the confrontation of those beliefs be willing also to examine further the reasons, the questions, the stirring of the waters that occur because of them. If you have see some cracks or flaws in your beliefs, then perhaps its time to dig in and do some further research. If you’re not even sure where to start, I would suggest based upon my own experience and research that the Bible can be relied upon as a great place to begin. I believe that if you do, you will see that God desires to be an experiential component to your life. In other words, He wants you to experience Him and He will emphasize those experiences to solidify your beliefs in what He has to say and how He wants to move in your life like in this example: “O taste and see that the LORD is good:…” (Psalm 34:8 KJV) Taste = experience, See = Research & Verify, Good = True Principals & Beliefs Therefore, I believe the question isn’t so much of you to me but rather of you to you when asked “What Do I believe?”
God Bless – Rick
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