Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Centrality of Belief




"For God, who said, 'Light shall shine out of darkness,' is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ."  2 Corinthians 4:6


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In the book, Love Your God With All Your Mind, by J.P. Moreland, the author discussed how the beliefs of a Christian affect their walk with Christ.

I thought I'd share some things I gleaned from this most excellent book.




Personal Needs

I shared with our youth this past Sunday about certain systems of belief. One being the idea that God is good because He meets all my needs.

This system can extend to our family, our careers, and our church. 

We tend to tell others about God when all our personal needs are being met. We do not hesitate to share our faith when everything is going along smoothly. "Oh Jesus is so wonderful," we say. "I pray and He answers me!"

I went on to explain just why this way of believing is dangerous. 

What happens when our needs aren't being met? Does this mean God isn't good? Does this mean God doesn't exist?

What happens when we arrive at church and find that we aren't the center of its universe? Does this mean we leave the church? What happens when our family does not meet our needs? Do we abandon our family?



Centrality of Beliefs

It is usually at this time in our spiritual walk that we respond in one of two ways:

We either realize we do not know what we believe and, therefore, want nothing to do with a God that just might not meet all our needs exactly when we expect them to be met. 

Or-

We draw nearer to God because we realize we depend solely on His goodness for all our needs. 

The latter reveals to us that we have reached a point in our spiritual journey when our belief in Christ becomes central to our lives.

Our belief in Christ takes over our lives and begins to affect our way of thinking, acting, and living. 

In other words, we stand back and say, "It's not about me....but about Him."

And we accept it. 




The Empty Self vs. The Complete Self

When this happens, when the Christian can stop and realize he or she is not the main character of this story...when he or she realizes that they are here to serve the main character, life can truly begin. 

The Christian cannot remain still. The Christian must move. 

Compare this with the empty self:

The empty self is passive. It sits and waits for things to come to it. 
The Christian is actively pursuing service to the Lord. 

The empty self is individualistic and narcissistic.
The Christian is to consider other's needs more important than his own.

The empty self infantile. Always looking for outward stimulation.
The Christian is mature in Christ and is always yearning to know more spiritual things of God.

The empty self is sensate. It is always looking for experiences and satisfaction of the five senses.
The Christian is easily satisfied with the supernatural immaterial things of God he cannot control in both good times and  hard times. 

The empty self is hurried and busy. Always gorging itself with activities and noise to fill the emptiness. Distracted.
The Christian is calm, patient, and peaceful. Completely satiated with the activities of the Lord. Focused.

See the difference?




The Truth

Moreland gives the Christian a way to develop the Christian mind so we do not fall back into that empty self we once knew. 

I highly recommend this book for the Christian who struggles with their worldview. Moreland shows you how to develop that Christian/Biblical worldview so that you truly are loving God with all your mind. 

The results?

Your beliefs are able to withstand the silences that sometimes come from God. Your beliefs are able to withstand the prayers that are answered with a resounding "No" or "Not yet..."

Instead of crumbling when your belief system is struck and the cognitive dissonance paralyzes you, the Christian worldview allows you to continue on. Focusing on Christ allows you to sustain through the storms and carry on in service...just as Christ did when He walked the earth.

God has given us the knowledge of the Light which is the glory of Christ. He has given us that knowledge so that we can hold fast and never stumble. He is that perfect truth. That perfect love.


"Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! It is an ever-fixed mark 
That looks on tempests and is never shaken .."   -Shakespeare Sonnet 116.



Blessings,
Ruth




4 comments:

  1. First, I love that sonnet!!

    Second, I really, really like what you said about our view on God's goodness. You're totally right on. We can't think God is good because of what he does for us...but because of who He is.

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    1. Me too!! I know the sonnet is about love, but it also works when thinking about Christ's love.

      I shared part of your story with the youth because so many of them are in that stage in their beliefs: "God is great because He meets all my needs!"

      So we discussed why that way of thinking isn't good for the Christian because what happens when tragedy comes along? Or when our needs aren't being met?

      Thanks for visiting!

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  2. What a wise and mature Christian perspective. It's true that we tend to brag about God when we see our needs being met. I like the way you compare it to family and church. The problem with us humans is that we don't realize He is there through everything, even letting us fall sometimes, because He loves us. It's always looking back we realize He truly was there. HOlly

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    1. So true, Holly. Mature Christians realize that God is sovereign over all. This means when we fall or when trials come, He is sovereign over that as well. That each event in our lives happens for a reason.

      But our youth are still learning! They will get there!

      Thanks for visiting!

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