Hanging on the wall in our guest room is a framed message that simply says "Believe." A friend gave it to me a few years ago. I thought it a worthy message to share with other friends and family who come to visit our home.
As I look at it hanging there, it begs the question, "what do you believe?" The very word itself has a spiritual connotation. There is power in believing in God. But, maybe the better question is "What are you doing that shows what you believe?" It is through your actions that your belief is confirmed.
Take a minute and play this "what if" game to help you discover how deeply you believe.
1. What if ...
Sunday rolls around and, though you're tired from activities that kept you up a bit late, you climb out of bed and head for the shower. In your heart you know that going to church matters to you, and you're not going to let being tired keep you from it. So off you go. As a result, you feel refreshed and renewed in your spirit to handle the events of the coming week. If this is the case, then you really do believe.
2. What if ...
Your coworkers make fun of your faith. They laugh and say that believing in God is only a crutch for the weak. They mock you for your values, for your faith. What then? You take a deep breath and consider the fact that they obviously haven't put believing to the test. They assume it has no place in life. You know differently because you have felt His divine Spirit comforting you.
Perhaps it came when you were given a sweet assurance at the time of a loved one's death. You were filled with the hope that dying is not the end, but rather a beginning of a glorious life beyond this one. You feel certain you will see your loved one again. You smile at this knowledge and wish your associates had the same peace that you enjoy. Though you care about them, you do not submit to their philosophies. Because you believe. And you believe firmly because the Holy Spirit has comforted you during difficult times.
3. What if ...
The child you love with all your heart has departed from the beliefs you hold dear. You have prayed for this child. You fear she might be dragged down to the depths of despair because of her behavior. You pray harder. And still she does not heed your counsel. You may even begin to wonder if your prayers are being heard. In effect, you begin to doubt your own faith. That's when you reach deep into your heart and remember the words of Christ "I will not forsake you." Then you know you will not forsake Him. You know He will watch over your child and will, in the meantime, also be with you. That's because you believe.
You know that reading the Bible is important, but it's not always convenient. You're busy rushing off to work, helping the kids with homework, cleaning the house, and a zillion other duties that life continually throws at you. Most all of them are good things. There is only so much time in a day, and you can barely fit it all in as is. You're tired. Then you look at that sacred book there on your night stand. You know what to do and you do it. Once again you read of Christ and the love He has for you. You read how He suffered in Gethsemane and died on the cross for you. You are filled with His love. You close the book and are filled with His peace once again. Reading His word is important to you. Because you believe.
5. What if ...
You are rushing to an appointment when you see someone trip and fall. You stop and help her. It appears she has a serious injury, so you call 911. You hold her hand and comfort her until help arrives. You decide that people matter more than being to an appointment on time. You believe as Christ taught: "Love one another as I have loved you." You help others because it is a basic part of your belief.
You make mistakes and sometimes do things contrary to what you know is right. If this is the case, you must be human. It happens to everyone. What you do about it is what shows the depth of your belief. If you recognize your mistake, do your best to make amends, confess your error to God in prayer, asking for His help to overcome your faults, and then you are on the right path. You, in fact, have just proven that you genuinely do believe.
The very thing that makes life bearable and worth living is knowing that God lives; He loves you, and He has a plan for you. When you believe that with all of your heart, all else will somehow work out. Just believe.