Truth, Belief, and Action

“Do you really believe that what you believe is really real?”

So ended the first session of The Truth Project, a DVD-based worldview study from Focus on the Family which we presented several years ago at Parker Hills. It reminded me of a comment from one of my college professors years earlier: “We don’t need to live what we believe. We already do. We can tell exactly what we really believe by how we live.”

It’s a mistake, in other words, to try to change what we do to match up with what we believe. What we do already matches what we believe. Our actions never contradict our real beliefs; they simply manifest them. So why is it that our actions so often contradict what we profess and want to believe?

Sometimes it’s because we live by feelings more than God’s word. To put it another way, we believe our feelings more than we believe God. The problem is not that we need to live out our beliefs. We’re already doing exactly that. We believe our feelings more than we believe our “beliefs,” and so we live by what we feel instead of by what God says.

Another problem is that we tend to live for the present more than the future. We’re aware, for example, that God says sin is bad for us, but those consequences are rarely immediate. So we neglect God’s warnings about the end results. Meanwhile, our coveting might be setting us up for financial disaster, or our anger might be fracturing our relationships, or our laziness might be getting noticed by our employer. Disaster is right around the corner; but since we can’t see it, we don’t really think about it. We believe our experience of the present more than we believe God’s prediction of the future.

Two quick suggestions to fix the problem. First, expose yourself regularly to the faith-producing word of God. Read your Bible regularly. Listen carefully to biblical preaching on your daily commute. “Faith comes by hearing… the word of God” (Rom 10:17).

Next, connect with others in deep, meaningful, Christian fellowship. Hebrews 3:13 warns: “Exhort one another every day… that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Wrong beliefs are like a rip in the back of your pants: you need somebody else to help you realize it’s there so you can fix it.