I took a philosophy class one semester at my college. One day, my professor told me that I probably believe in my parents more than I believe in God. I was taken aback. I asked, “Now, how in the world could you say that?” He asked me a few questions.
“Do you believe that God is omniscient?” He asked. “Yes,” I replied. “Do you believe He is omnipresent?” “Yes.” “So then, answer me this: what would you do if your parents walked in on you and a girl making out?” he asked me. I chuckled and said, “Well, I would probably wet myself, pass out, and then you would have to resuscitate me back to life.” The class and then I gave him a serious answer, “we would probably stop and act as if we never were in the first place.”
“Exactly,” he said, “yet, if you are consistent in your beliefs, you believe that God was in that very room and knew exactly what you two were doing before your parents ever walked in the room. Therefore, why did you not stop until your parents walked in?” I shrugged. “It is because you may say you believe all of that, but you do not really believe it.” I was speechless. “Therefore, you believe in your parents more than you believe in God.”
The more I thought about that, the more it began to hit me. Many times, that is so true. It is so easy to believe something without believing in it. For example, it’s pretty easy to believe that God exists. We are all here, the universe exists, and it had to get here somehow. That is easy. But, when I read the Bible and what it says about God… do I believe in the God of the Bible? I really believe in Him? The One who died on the cross to atone for my sins and give me new life? If I really believed in that, and that He has put His Spirit in me, how could I live otherwise?
For example, I sure as heck believe in the judicial system. You’re not going to find me at Wal-Mart stealing a One Direction CD, because 1) I would not even waste my spit on a One Direction CD and 2) I know that I will have to pay for that crime. In the same way, I am not going to kill a man because I know I will either spend my life in prison or be executed. So, do I believe in the judicial system more than I believe in God? Do I not do certain things and do certain things because I believe it is what I should do as a response to my belief in God and the gospel, or is it because some other more legitimate belief I have is ultimately driving that decision?
One I can easily relate with is this, and all of you other Christian singles: are you avoiding having sex because you believe God has saved you and the right response to that is keeping sexual purity, or do you just not want to get pregnant or get your girlfriend pregnant? Or do you just not want to get an STD? Or do you just not want your reputation to be ruined? If any of those are your intentions, then even though you are not having sex, you are not honoring God. And I am not saying that having sex before marriage is ok, but if you think that God is satisfied with your obeying the rules, then you are deeply mistaken. He is not after your hollow obedience, He is after your heart.
2 Timothy 1:12 says, “…But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.” Paul knows who he believed. And not only did He know in whom he believes, but that led his whole mindset changing because he said, “I am convinced…”. The demons have good theology. They believe God is one (James 2:19) and they know Jesus (Acts 19:15). But they are not saved, because they have not taken their knowledge and allowed it to transform who they are.
That’s why John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter, and others were always saying “Repent and Believe”. Why not just believe? Why not just repent? Because true belief leads to true repentance. You cannot have one without the other. Repentance without belief is worthless and belief without repentance is illegitimate.
Belief in my parents changes who I am. If I just acknowledged their existence, yet never paid attention to who they were or anything they said, I would not change my life in response to that belief. Our belief in God and who He is and what He says demands response. Once we really believe in God and all of His glory, majesty, and goodness, then we will never be the same.
This is an excerpt from my book, “Church Kid: Restoring Your Faith After Being Raised in Church,” now available for purchase here.