A couple of months ago I wrote an article titled “We are Christians but do we really believe” The article looked at the story of Jesus and the fig tree. Jesus had said to the disciples that if they are to pray in belief without doubt then they will receive whatever they ask for.
This week I had a conversation with a friend on the topic of belief. We discussed how our complacencies with Christian doctrine can often lead us to be deceived about our faith. The conversation has provoked me to again write on what it means to really believe
We all well know that the fundamental doctrine of Christianity is that salvation is available to all who believe in Christ and accept him as Lord and Saviour. Although this is biblically sound doctrine, I think that many of us are misled in our understanding of what Jesus is describing when he says ‘believe in me’.
Believing is in the doing
I find that it is easy for us to say that we believe in Christ as Lord and Saviour, yet often difficult for us to live a life that reflects this. Evidence of believing is not what is thought or proclaimed but rather what is done.
Jesus expresses the need for us to proclaim our faith in him through our actions in his parable of the two sons.
"But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, 'Son, go, work today in my vineyard.'
He answered and said, 'I will not,' but afterward he regretted it and went.
Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, 'I go, sir,' but he did not go.
‘Which of the two did the will of his father?’ They said to Him, 'the first.’"
(Matthew Chapter 21 Verses 28 – 31)
Ultimately it is our actions that will portray the authenticity of our beliefs. When Christ talks about believing in him he talks about a belief that when held will dictate one’s behaviour.
An example of real belief
Although I am talking about biblical truths I find worldly examples help with understanding true belief.
So let’s say someone you trust says they can give you a hundred dollars today or if you wait they will give you a million dollars tomorrow. Obviously you would wait for one day to receive the million dollars.
I think it is fair to say it would not be difficult to wait for the million dollars. I don’t think that anybody would really be tempted to take the hundred dollars.
It’s a silly little example but I use it to make the point that if we believe in something then it is easy to adhere to it. Money is tangible - we all know what it is and what we can do with it. Our undoubting belief in money is what gives this scenario an obvious outcome.
Christ offers us infinitely more than a million dollars. So why then are we tempted by the carnal desires of the world: pride, power, lust, wealth, etc.?
If we truly believe in the word of God then undoubtedly these temptations would mean nothing to us. Like the hundred dollars we would discard them without a second thought.
To wrestle with the temptations of the flesh and struggle to live life in a manner pleasing to God is, to me, evidence of doubt and unbelief.
Belief will lead to righteousness
A real believer is dedicated to living Christ-like. They do not have animosity in their hearts, they do not continually fall into temptation. They know the promises of God are a covenant.
Believing in Christ will inevitably lead to a life of righteousness. We have been delivered from sin and we are to no longer live in it. Believing in Christ is our deliverance.
It is my opinion that if our everyday existence does not resemble a believer of Christ then we are not really believing.
Matthew Fryer is a professional seafarer with a love of the ocean. After a career working on merchant ships Matthew has recently ventured into the mission field, most recently serving with YWAM onboard their medical and training vessel the ‘YWAM PNG’. When Matthew is not working away at sea he resides on the Gold Coast with his wife Clara and their two children Harold 6 and Jane 5.