The power of belief has been well documented in physical and material pursuits in life. From sports to business, to our personal goals and dreams belief in a necessary ingredient for success.
Napoleon Hill, known for his books on self-help and positive thinking, in his classic bestseller Think and Grow Rich, wrote, “Whatever your mind can conceive, and believe, it can achieve.”
As we continue to explore the theme Reaching Forward, and discuss the 10 concepts in Dr. David Jeremiah’s book, Forward, that are encapsulated in a single word, we come to the word, “believe.”
Jeremiah makes it clear, we agree, that Bible belief is not the same as the promises made by “Health and wealth” televangelists and motivational speakers who proclaim “If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.” This kind of human religion, “pushes God to the sidelines, magnifies human ability and doesn’t tell the whole truth.”
Consider these three indicators that demonstrate Jesus’ straightforward exhortation to “Believe in God.”
#1 Belief is the bedrock of our convictions.
The Bible says that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
The important things of life are not things. They are unseen. They are spiritual. Moral. Ethical. Like the roots of a tree embedded deep into the ground, they reach deep into the soul. Into the heart of an individual.
Dictionaries usually define “conviction” as a fixed or strong belief.” I like the definition of conviction by Howard Hendricks: “A belief is something you will argue about. A conviction is something you will die for!”
“Conviction is more than a whim, guess or an opinion,” wrote WordPoints author and evangelist, Gary Henry. “It’s an element deep down in a person’s belief system, a part of that very person’s principles. And people of strong conviction would rather die than compromise the principles they’re convicted of.”
C. S. Lewis was right when he wrote, “You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you.”
#2 Belief or the lack thereof is exposed in our communication.
What do we communicate to an unbelieving world? To our family? To our friend? And even to ourselves?
If our speech is constantly critical, negative, fearful, doubting, and distrusting then we’re revealing, deep-down, a lack of faith.
“Where was God when I needed him?” the cynic questions.
“I won’t believe until I see more evidence,” demands the doubting Thomas.
“If ______ happens, I’ll fall to pieces,” whines the worry-wart. (You fill in the blank of some real or imagined crisis)
The apostle Paul’s communication and conversion exhibited his firm belief in God’s promises, providence and provisions. He boldly affirmed, “I can do all things through Christ who strengths me” (Phil. 4:13).
He further affirmed that God is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Eph. 3:20).
Paul’s strong belief allowed him to confidently proclaim, “I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him…” (2 Tim. 1:12).
What does your communication reveal about your faith?
#3 Belief is displayed in our conduct.
Peter commands Christian to have their “conduct honorable among the Gentiles” (1 Pet 2:12). He also says that a Christian wife will do more to convert her unbelieving husband with “chaste conduct and respectful behavior” than mere words.
Honorable conduct is demonstrated in our positive response to crisis in our lives. In the countenance we present. In the care we display for others’ feelings. In the compassion we manifest for “the least of these.” In the love we show toward our spouse and children. And the concern we express to those lost in sin.
Reaching forward toward God’s eternal prize challenges us to truly believe. And as Henry Miller expressed it, “What distinguishes the majority of men from the few is their ability to act according to their beliefs.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman