I read of a humorous encounter between the famous preacher, Jonathan Whitfield, and a few coal miners in England. During his visit with the miners, Whitfield asked one man, "What do you believe?" "Well, I believe the same as the church." "And what does the church believe?" "Well, they believe the same as me." Seeing he was getting nowhere, Whitfield said, "And what is it that you both believe?" "Well, I suppose the same thing.”
We read stories like this and chuckle at the humor. But if the truth be known, a growing segment of our Christian culture in this present generation would respond in a like manner to questions like these. Many do not know what they believe, or on what form of truth they stand. So what can we use as a sort of litmus test to see what we believe? I have a simple answer. Our actions.
Jesus constantly dealt with the “religious” people of His day and their misconceptions of the truth. His own people, the Jews, discounted His claims to be who He said He was. On one occasion, as recorded in John, chapter 10, Jesus was at one of their celebrations and a number of them approached Him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Plainly? How much more obvious did Jesus have to make it? Now you have to understand that Jesus had already told them a number of times who He was, and had even backed up His claims by performing several miracles in their midst, but they still came to Him, over and over, questioning His authority. Jesus responded to them, “I did tell you, but you do not believe.” Jesus’ words here underscore the fact that our belief will determine our actions, and our choices. The Jews had heard the truth, but they chose not to believe, and thus their actions toward Jesus, and the truth, were hostile.
Knowing this, I have to ask myself this question: what do my actions and my choices say about my belief? Does my behavior tell the world that what I believe is real and that it is life changing? The apostle Paul taught us in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” How we live our lives, the things we say, the way we act toward others are all directly related to what we believe. If we aren’t convinced of the truth of God’s Word, and it hasn’t taken root deep into our spirit, then our everyday actions and choices will show it. On the other hand, a life that is saturated with a strong belief in the Truth will blossom forth in a new life of daily repentance, positive choices, and holy living. In other words, our life will look different than those who have no belief in God’s Truth.
So what do your actions say about your belief? Is it real? Is your belief producing the new life that Paul spoke of? I think it’s safe to say that if your belief in Christ truly is real, and it’s based on the truth of God’s Word, then those around you will notice. Because the fruit your life will produce will be irresistible. Keep sowing!
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