It's only 18 inches, but it is the longest 18 inches in the world. I am talking about the distance from your head to your heart. Jesus, quoting the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 29:13) said to some religious leaders, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” Matthew15:8.
It is one thing for me to say I believe in God, but quite another thing to believe the God I believe in. Lest you think I am guilty of double speak, permit me to explain myself.
As a Christian, and a Christian leader, I believe in God. I believe in the Triune God…Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I also believe everything the Bible says about God. The question is, does my belief in God result in genuine trust in God…his character and his promises.
For example, I can believe that God is sovereign, which I do. What happens though to my outlook and my attitude when things are not going the way I envision them going? Do I get angry with God and try to take matters into my own hands (as Saul did in 1 Samuel 13:8-15). When God doesn’t seem to be providing the way I would like him to, do I worry and doubt his goodness and promises, or do I confidently watch and wait to see him work on my behalf.
I fear that many Christian leaders have a theological and cognitive belief that doesn’t result in a confident trust…a belief that plays itself out in the way they act and think when something is not turning out the way they would like.
We call God our Father on Sunday but then live like orphans all week.
To his disciples Jesus said, “But some of you don’t believe me” John 6:64 (NLT). Jesus didn’t say they don’t believe in him, but don’t believe him. There is a huge difference between the two.
I’m often guilty of not believing the God I say I believe in!
- I say I believe God is good, and then get angry when bad things happen to me
- I say I believe God is love, but then struggle accepting his forgiveness when I sincerely confess my sin
- I say I believe that God loves lost people, but then don’t make any effort to relate to them
- I say I believe that God will provide for me and my family and then work my way into a worried frenzy when things are tight financially
The simple fact is that I don’t believe the God I say I believe in. This bothers me…bothers me a lot and I am wresting with how (led and empowered by him) to consistently make the journey from my head to my heart…and then from my heart to my hands, feet and lips.
I am making progress and am grateful to the One who promised me that I could do all things through him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). I believe in that promise too, but now want to believe it, not just believe in it.
When J Hudson Taylor directed the China Inland Mission, a gentleman walked into his office and told him that some of the missionaries in his organization had been murdered in the “Boxer Rebellion. “ He began singing an old hymn, “Jesus, I am resting, resting in the joy of what thou art; I am finding out the greatness of thy loving heart…” the gentleman in disbelief said to Taylor, “How can you sing at a time like this?” Taylor responded, “What else can I do?” He believed the God he said he believed in. I desire this kind of trust and rest that transcends human understanding.
What about you? Do you really believe the God you say you believe in? What evidence is there in your life and ministry?