“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him, because we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, no longer dies. Death no longer rules over Him. For in that He died, He died to sin once for all; but in that He lives, He lives to God. So, too consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:8-11 Christian Standard Bible
The movie titled “The Man Who Never Was” is one I’ve watched several times. It is based on an actual incident created by the intelligence unit of the British Navy. The goal was to provide a completely false, yet believable story to cover the actual landing and invasion plans for the assault on Italy. The challenge was to make the evidence resistant to the closest scrutiny! It had to convince the Abwehr, a German intelligence division, beyond any doubt. Success depended completely upon what those involved were willing to believe. Later, when it came it to the Invasion of Europe by the Allies, once more subterfuge was of the utmost importance. What could the Allies make the Axis believe concerning the false details of the invasion plans? Much depended on the ability to spin the details of lies mixed with truth.
Long ago, in a land very far away the first spin was played out on two people. The two, a husband and wife, had the power to decide what the rest of their family would experience in the millennia to come. Resting in a tree was the greatest spin doctor who ever existed, ready to meet the two with the greatest combination of lies and truth concocted in order to destroy his victims. It came down to this, what would our original parents believe and who would they believe? It sounds simple enough doesn’t it? All that was required was to make a choice concerning what they had been told. We do this several times a day, every day without thinking twice about our decisions. But there are those decisions we know have been game changers in our own lives, and no doubt there are some we desperately would like to change if at all possible.
Adam and Eve experienced the consequences of their decision in ways we can never even imagine. Consider the fact that we, if God chooses, may live to be 100 years of age, or older. In that time we will witness for ten decades the destructive power of the rebellion unleashed by Adam and Eve because they exercised their choice to believe in favor of God’s enemy. Adam and Eve lived for several centuries watching everything God had created disintegrate before their very eyes. They experienced the loss of two beloved sons, one to murder and the other, their firstborn, as he ran from what he had done! Our original parents knew what it was to suffer as they lived through the results of what they had chosen to believe.
There are so many things we face in life that are dependent upon what we choose to believe, who we choose to believe, and why we choose to believe. The latter may even be the most important reason to consider regarding what you choose to believe. There is no shortage of individuals, companies, marketers, advertisers, and spin doctors ready to tell you what you must and should believe about EVERYTHING! Bottom line, it still comes down to you, no matter the spin the decision remains with you. What do you believe? Who will you believe? Why do you believe?
As a white, male, heterosexual, married, Christian, former Pastor, I am weary of how I am often portrayed, what I am told I believe, and how I am told I think! Quite often those spinning the negative assumptions and pronouncements about me have never met me, and would never know me from Adam!
Of course, the Holy Spirit convicts me of my own attitudes, and leads me out to His woodshed for some attitude adjustment (confession), and offers the opportunity to repent (turn around)! And in this process of the Holy Spirit I once more will exercise the gift of choice based on what I believe.
In the last several months I have had many opportunities to examine what I believe, why I believe, and how strongly I believe. I have been challenged because I choose to believe in a literal six day creation. Because of this belief I have been called ignorant. I have been called some interesting names because I have chosen to follow Jesus Christ.
I found myself changing some life decisions based on God’s revealing to me that my choices were wrong, based on feelings instead of seeking God’s direction for what He wanted to do next with my life. I had believed my life in ministry was done; I had nothing more to offer because I was not able to Pastor. After all, I had been informed working as a Pastor was no longer an option. Quite honestly, I never conceived I would write anything, let alone a blog, or host a group where I write every day. Preaching was something I never expected to do again. I was convinced that segment of my life was over. Based on what I believed, I was done. However, the other side of what you and I believe is what God believes about you and me!
Cropping up in my thought process lately is this idea of God being so intimate with us, driven by His passion for us! Combine these two and we discover God’s Grace piercing through layers of spin and half truths to reveal the naked truth of His love for us. Everything comes down to these questions:
Who do you believe?
What do you believe?
Why do you believe?
There are plenty who will tell you there is no God. Thousands believe anyone who claims to know God and to be known by Him are, if you will pardon the expression, unhinged! This is what I believe based on my personal experience. If the scoffers want to run with that, and make me out to be Looney-Tunes so be it. They can’t argue it. Well, they can, but it’s useless because it’s what I choose to believe. And because of that, it doesn’t matter how much someone thinks my belief in God is a crutch; it keeps me walking! And let me tell you, I know about the need for support when walking because of my balance issues, so having a crutch isn’t a problem for me. I’ll take all the help I can get! Why? I’m glad you asked. Because according to my experience walking upright with a crutch beats falling down breaking things!
Whether it is spiritual, emotional, mental, or physical much of life comes back to this basic question. What do you believe? This makes a huge difference in how we see life, in how we approach our relationships. It determines the way we see who we are, and what we believe about God deeply influences what we will believe about ourselves. I struggle with this each day because my history also dictates how I see myself. I also know God is working tirelessly in my life to convince me of the truth Adam and Eve lost sight of in the Garden. His love makes life possible!
So, I ask you, what do you believe? Because believing that you die in Christ to live in Christ makes life more than we can ever imagine. It also colors our world with the hues of Jesus influence as He brings home to us the truth of His love and grace! Now it is your turn. “What do you believe?”
“When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’
They answered, ‘Some say you are John the Baptizer, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’
He asked them, ‘But who do you say I am?’
Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!’
Jesus replied, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, you are blessed! No human revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven revealed it to you.’” Matthew 16:13-17 God’s Word Translation