WHAT DOES THE BIBLE MEAN BY “BELIEVING”?
When you genuinely believe in the Bible, it will drive you to act!
Belief is not a passive feeling. Believing is more than an intellectual acceptance that the Bible is true.
Believing is more than accepting that the Scriptures are divinely inspired. To honestly believe means to have faith that God is alive, that he is active, and that he is interested in you today.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6.
It is written here that God is, not that God was! Read Hebrews, Chapter 11, and you will discover how the heroes of faith in the Old Testament, through their faith, have faced tremendous obstacles and severe difficulties. They served a living God who supported them in wonderful ways.
BELIEVING IS NOT PASSIVE.
Faith in God compels you to action, as it is written in the final part of Hebrews 11:6, “he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” The heroes of faith diligently sought out God and were very active with their faith: “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark …” Hebrews 11:7.
Today, we must also diligently seek God by reading, believing and simply obeying His Word and trusting that He will honor our diligence.
HOW DOES GOD HONOR THOSE WHO DILIGENTLY SEEK HIM?
There are many references all over the Bible. For example, 2 Peter 1:4 says, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” You may be partakers of the divine nature of God which is perfectly pure and cannot be tempted by evil. We were promised that we could be partakers of the divine nature by fleeing from the corruption in the world that comes from our lusts.
A PRECIOUS PROMISE
Partaking of divine nature is a magnificent reward and not a mystical thing. Divine nature is the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, as set out in Galatians 5:22-23. The life of Jesus, which can be manifested in our mortal flesh, is another way of describing the divine nature. (2 Corinthians 4:11)
Once again, diligence and obedience are expected if we are to partake in these fruits of the Spirit.
We must “depart from the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:4. We must “always carry the dying of the Lord Jesus in our body …” 2 Corinthians 4:10. The process, through which we overcome this corruption, including the sin within ourselves, and the experience of being filled with the fruit of the Spirit, is the essence of the New Testament.
The heroes of the Old Testament witnessed the great power of God to destroy their enemy and foes through their living faith.
In the New Testament, God has done something much more glorious: He has destroyed sin in human nature in the flesh of Jesus. (Romans 8:3) God did not impose Himself on Jesus, but Jesus Himself believed and obeyed God in all His life situations.
Jesus has triumphed, and He has made it possible for you and me to overcome in the same way. (Revelation 3:21) He will save us to the very end!
“Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” Mark 9:23.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BELIEF AND FAITH
A lot of people say with confidence that they ‘believe’ in Jesus.
Some of these same people believe that this is enough to guarantee that their sins will be forgiven and that they will be accepted to Heaven. But is this simple “belief” in God enough? Is this “belief” the same as the “faith” that is spoken about in the Bible? Let us look a little closer at this definition.
TRUE FAITH IS MORE THAN SIMPLY “BELIEVING”
Although “faith” definitely contains the element of “belief”, they aren’t the same thing. Certainly, one must believe that someone or something exists, before it is possible to place one’s faith in that person or object. However, I can believe some things that don’t affect my life. I believe that China exists, but because of my belief, I don’t live my life differently. The Bible tells us that this kind of ‘belief’ is not genuine faith and will not result in a cordial relationship with God.
Putting one’s “faith” in someone, or something means putting one’s trust in that person or object. What or who one trusts can have far-reaching, even everlasting, ramifications. It means dependence upon, reliance on, that thing or person. I can say that I believe a helicopter can take me from here to there, but if I’m afraid to get on it, I’m going to say that I don’t have any ‘faith’ in that plane. Also, if I don’t get on the plane, I have no reason to expect it to take me anywhere. I have to exercise my ‘faith’ in that plane, by boarding it, if I want to receive the benefits it offers.
TRUE FAITH RESULTS IN A CHANGED WORLDVIEW
If we have real saving faith in Jesus Christ, we see the universe and its structure in a completely different way. The Holy Spirit teaches us as to the real nature of things, allowing us to think differently, “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” (Romans 8:5). We are encouraged to make this a priority of our spiritual life. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). If we really are Christians, committed followers of Jesus Christ, we will grow more and more to see our existence as God sees it.
FAITH RESULTS IN CHANGED ACTIONS
Some people claim to be followers of Christ, but their way of life remained the same when they became Christians as when they weren’t converted. They still live the same way, talk the same way, and think the same way as when they were living in rebellion to God. Were they exercising genuine faith? Jesus said in John 14:15 that, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” meaning that our actions will reveal the change that our hearts had gone through when we became His true followers. Conversely, if our lives do not show a change of allegiance to Jesus, we have good reason to doubt that our salvation is real at all. John writes, “By this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments” (1 John 2:3). True faith is shown by a change in the way we behave.
FAITH LEADS TO CHANGED PRIORITIES
If there is anything more important than God in our life, then our priorities are wrong, and we need to check ourselves to see if we have truly given our lives to Christ. If our lives are more focused on our jobs, the next new technological toy, our favorite sports team, our love life, or anything else that diverts our attention away from God, we need to question the validity, or at least the maturity, of our faith.
SOME ASPECTS THAT REVEAL THE FOCUS OF OUR HEARTS ARE:
FINANCES: If we focus too much on how much money we make, or how high up the corporate ladder we climb, we have to adjust our focus because our focus is on money instead of God. On the other side, if we are so worried that we don’t have enough money, then our focus is on our needs instead of on God who is able to supply our needs.
OUR THOUGHT LIFE: what we spend time thinking about tells a lot about what are the most important thing in our lives. Although it is not wrong to think of anything other than Christ, when we think about things to the point that God’s thoughts are forced out of our minds, we are in danger of losing our faith. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, the Bible tells us to “pray without ceasing”, which means to keep the communication lines between you and God open at all times.
OUR PRIORITIES: Where does God fit in with your life? How important is meditation and Bible study, rather than making sure you don’t miss your favorite TV show? The Bible says in Matt. 6:33 ” But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;” Our relationship with God is supposed to be the most important thing in our lives if we truly have faith in God as we profess.
HOW THE BELIEF IN YOURSELF SHOWS YOUR BELIEF IN GOD
“You can’t believe in God until you believe in yourself,” says S. Vivekananda. Let me clarify why, after a lot of contemplation, this quote is true for me.
When you read the quote for the first time, you might brush it off. Thinking that couldn’t be true, and you might not want to waste any more time worrying about it.
Let us unpack it, starting right from the very beginning. It is written in Genesis that we were made in the image of God. God has breathed life into us, His air flows inside of us; God is, therefore, the source of life from within. He’s inside us, and he’s around us — everywhere.
If this is the case, if you reject yourself, hate yourself or do worse, you do the same to God because He is the source from within, and your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). Everything you’re holding against yourself at the core level, whether it’s through words or actions, you’re also holding against God.
By questioning who we are, we are questioning who God is.
You may assume that you were created by chance, and if that were valid, it would also mean you don’t have a special purpose. It would leave you struggling in life, not just physically but also mentally and spiritually — which, again, would lead you not to believe in yourself. What is there to believe in, if we run around like zombies without a purpose? We begin to feel hopeless, and a thought sneaks in that means that surely there can’t be a God if that’s how you feel.
When we do not trust ourselves, we don’t trust Him, either. Our human self is restored through Jesus, and we tend not to want to embrace it on a deep spiritual basis. Experience has shown that we appear to be suspicious of anything that could be good.
Most of us actually accept the existence of God. But do we whole-heartedly and totally experience faith? There is a distinction between knowledge and faith. Faith means letting go of what we think we can and should control. But we’re afraid to let go because we’re going to lose ourselves, we feel we can’t take that chance. What we become comfortable with, we become familiar with, and even though it’s not in our best interest, it seems safe, so we hold onto it. Attempting to be in control of our lives means we don’t trust Divine guidance.
Whatever you focus on within yourself, that is what you focus on within others. What we’re willing to acknowledge about ourselves, we’re willing to acknowledge about others too. You will understand that in every way you are beautifully created if you believe in yourself and God as your source. This will enable us to see others the same way, creating a deep sense of connection between every one of us. If you believe in yourself, you begin to see yourself as God sees and loves you, and this leads us to really see each other. If we keep fighting ourselves, we doubt the creation of God, and we would not be able to understand that everything and everyone is linked to each other.
By having faith, we will be ready to take responsibility for ourselves and be able to acknowledge the responsibility that we have to one another. We can’t live on our own.
It’s a deep, personal journey that will guide us from knowledge to faith. It is a journey that involves digging through a lot of layers that cover our heart, which is our essence in God’s light. As humans, we can never be perfect, but this realization makes it easier to embrace and fulfill our calling and purpose for a greater future. When you believe in yourself in an honorable way, you honor what God has created, and hence, God Himself. The lesser you believe in yourself, the more distant you are spiritually from God.
So, I ask you: how important is it to fully understand who we are and for what purpose God has created us? Let’s continue our journey with a deep sense of learning, understanding, connecting and surrendering—a journey from knowledge to believing and to faith.
With all said, my understanding is that the statement, “You can’t believe in God until you believe in yourself,” goes one on one with, “You can’t believe in yourself until you believe in God.” One is built on top of the other.
“Belief” can simply be a passive mental acceptance, which amounts to nothing when it comes to how it affects our lives. Simply saying “I believe in God” implies very little if it comes from the lips and not from the heart. People can, and do, say they “believe” in God, but their lives never change. But when one has true faith in God, one’s life cannot help but show this fact. True confidence, dependence, reliance, trust, in God reflects itself in our action, our thought life, and our priorities. A relationship with the Sustainer and Creator of the Universe can lead to nothing less than a radical readjustment of our complete worldview. We will love God with our hearts and love others as we love ourselves (Matthew 19:19, 22:39; Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8). If we claim that we are Christians, and this is not the attitude of our hearts, it would be wise to invite God to search our hearts, to cleanse us, to mold us into the people He desires us to be, and to strengthen our faith.