What we truly believe is what we live. Our beliefs and values are deeper in our being than just our intellect. They reach the core of who we are and why we do the things we do.
Believing a series of facts in ones mind does nothing for the person if those beliefs haven’t reached into the core of a person. This is why it is written in Scripture that if I say I love God, but hate my brother, I am a liar. Because the reality of what I truly believe is what I truly live. If I live out hate, I don’t know the love of God. The love of God is something that changes the core of our self and when that has been changed it will be expressed outwardly.
If I say I trust God with my money, and I freak out when I encounter a financial obstacle, I don’t really believe He will carry me through and my purported beliefs are shown to be false.
This is why it is written that faith without works is dead. Not because we need to muster up good works to be accepted by God, but because our faith has already made us the righteousness of God, and if our faith is true our actions will be a true reflection of that inner reality. If there is no change on the inside, there will be no change on the outside.
Now, this change on the outside is a process for a person changed on the inside has been born again. Just as a child needs to learn to adapt to his environment, so does a new creation in Christ need to go through a process of living from a new reality. The Bible uses the analogy of being on milk or solid foods to depict the maturity of a new believer progressing from a diet of milk to a truth of solid food.
Belief, then, is not something that is only facts in ones mind that one has to believe despite evidence to the contrary. Belief is something that your whole being identifies as reality and lives accordingly. If “belief” is only a system of facts mentally ascribed to, then most people would be living in contradiction to what is only believed in the mind.
(to be continued)