Honesty moment: Sometimes the Christian life is hard. Sometimes I know things to be true about God but I have a really hard time believing them. Our pastor challenges us weekly to “believe the things we know to be true about God.” At first that sounded silly to me. Of course I’m going to believe the things I know to be true about God. I know He’s real, I believe it. I know He loves me, I believe it. But as I’ve examined my life more deeply, I’ve realized that sometimes the way I live and the things I feel don’t necessarily line up with the things I say I believe to be true about God. The fear and guilt and insecurity and doubt that are almost daily present in my life reveal to me that I am not always believing.
Over and over again during His ministry Christ lovingly challenges and reminds His followers, “do not fear, only believe” (Mark 5:36 / Luke 8:50). I am so human. I know things. But I forget. I have to be reminded over and over and over again of the things I know. And still I forget. I doubt. And sometimes I don’t believe. I am like the father of the mute, demon-afflicted child who cried out to Christ, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). I desperately want to know Christ and believe in His healing love and power, but I know that a daily, sustained belief is impossible outside of His help.
So I have to seek God and rely on His ability to help me to believe. I have to remind myself, and let others remind me, of the truths I know. In the form of singing hymns, reading the Word, talking with trusted friends, or even physically writing down the things I know.
I tell myself that I believe…
- That God is real.
- That God is present – in this world and in my life – I am not alone.
- That God loves me deeply – that His love for me is sure despite who I am and what I do.
- That God has a plan and that it is good – it is best for me.
- That God is working in my life right now…in all things. Let me repeat that. In. All. Things. He is working for my ultimate good and His eternal glory.
- That God is good. Loving. Holy. Sovereign. Steadfast.
- That Christ’s work is enough for me. That I am seen by God as righteous.
- That the Holy Spirit is sanctifying me into the identity that Christ has already effected for me.
- That God will glorify himself ultimately through my life.
- That God alone is worthy of my trust, affection, submission, surrender.
These are steadfast, unequivocal truths. They are rooted in Scripture and they are true despite my doubts and my feelings. And if I truly believe them they will change everything about the way I live and hope and dream and love. Maybe you need to be reminded of them today too. So I pray for God to help us in our unbelief… Because it is only by His grace that we are able to believe the things we know to be true of Him. It is only by His power that we are able to combat the lies that so easily fill our heads and our hearts and manifest themselves in our lives. It is only by His goodness that we are filled with the assurance that He is good and able to be trusted. And it is only by His Spirit that we can remain rooted in and be faithful witnesses of the truth.
“You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before Me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after Me.” – Isaiah 43:10 “