Belief vs “Belief”

“Lips and tongues lie. But actions never do. No matter what words are spoken, actions betray the truth of everyone’s heart (Sherrilyn Kenyon, “Born of Fury).” That quote comes from a work of fiction but it cuts to the core of this issue. We as humans believe many different things, but the question sometimes is do we believe or do we just understand the facts. Someone might believe that Vitamin C will help with your cold and so they take Vitamin C supplements at the first sign of trouble. Another person says that they believe the Atkins diet is the best diet for losing weight, but when asked how long they have been on the Atkins diet they say, “oh I have never done it, I used Weight Watchers”. If I say I believe something but act as if I don’t, do I really believe it?

A few years ago I was in Toronto with a couple of friends and we decided to go up the CN Tower. For those who have never been, you fly up 346m in less than a minute via elevator, once there they have a glass floor. Now this glass floor can hold in the range of 35000 pounds, so a few tourists is no problem. Now I believe that the engineering is sound, but I wouldn’t go out onto the glass floor. Why? Fear. I have a fear of heights and the idea of stand on a piece of glass over 300 meters in the air scares me. But I believe that the glass is sound and would hold me up, right? No, I claim to believe, but the “proof is in the pudding”, as the saying goes. My action of not stepping out onto the glass shows that I merely understand the fact that the glass should hold me up, but because I am unwilling to act on that understanding it cannot be called belief. There are many things that we say we believe to be true or believe in, but if we looked at our response to that belief we would find that we only understand the facts and do not truly believe them true enough to act on.

This goes for our Christian belief (faith) as well. You cannot say you believe, but act like it isn’t true. James tells us “Faith without works is dead”; this does not mean that we must do certain things to make our faith real. It means that if we don’t live as if what the Bible teaches us is true than our faith is non-existent. We may have an understanding of what the bible teaches, we may even see our need for something more than ourselves, but we don’t actually believe that Jesus is the only way. John confirms this when he says, “If we say we have faith in Christ, but don’t walk/strive in the light, then we lie (paraphrased).”

True belief will always result in action confirming that belief. So look at your life, what is there that you say you believe, or believe in that your actions do not confirm?

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