When I was in high school, a rather uptight classmate called me a heathen because of my “ungodly” attire. I proved him right by laughing in his face. I realize now, of course, that he didn’t mean heathen; he meant infidel. A heathen is strange or uncivilized, while an infidel is an unbeliever. They aren’t actually synonymous, though I’ve misused them as such for years. Regardless, this poor fellow was hitting me with what he considered to be the ultimate insult, and the Lord reminded me of my belittling response.
My one work is to believe, but I ever underestimate how much my belief matters. In fact, I feel like I’m just starting to comprehend how important it is.
For if God did not spare the natural branches [because of unbelief], neither will He spare you [if you are guilty of the same offense].
Romans 11:21 Amplified
That’s Paul telling newly saved Gentiles not to get cocky about unbelieving Jews. If He didn’t spare His chosen people because of their unbelief, why would He spare us of the same thing? Paul isn’t preaching on a street corner to infidels here; he’s talking to Christians and warning them that unbelief results in being “pruned” off the vine. “So do not become proud and conceited, but rather stand in awe and be reverently afraid.”
It matters. The Amplified Bible always defines “believe” as “trusts in, clings to, relies on.” That’s a lot more than just saying the words “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” But I usually say the words and walk away. I don’t do the “work” to believe.
When you trust someone, it evidences in a relationship. When you cling to someone, other people notice. And when you rely on someone, YOU notice. I relied on cigarettes and I am keenly aware of their absence. I wish I could say that I am as quick to notice when I step out of the Holy Spirit and leave God’s presence to chase my own thoughts or go my own way.
The Latin roots of the word “infidel” are “unbelieving” and “unfaithful.” I never really understood the connection between the two, but it’s growing clearer by the day. I rely on and cling to and trust what/who I LOVE. I was “faithful” to cigarettes for fifteen years – I “believed” that I needed them. My belief is planted by my choice and nurtured by my love (my commitment).
I am completely and totally responsible for what I believe and in whom I believe. This is frightening, because I am “grafted in” or “pruned away” based on my belief. And it’s enormously exhilarating, because it means that I am not some victim, adrift and helplessly carried by the current of my life. I choose where I plant my belief, and my life turns on that.
And even those others [the fallen branches, Jews], if they do not persist in [clinging to] their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again.
Romans 11:23 Amplified
[…] talked about my smoking habit in this context in my last post, but I really want to throw down the gauntlet here, so let’s talk family. The Holy Spirit […]
Hi John ,
Is there not a danger we make believing a work . Is not believing what believers simply do , believe , like breathing is something we naturally do . Is not the ability to believe imparted as a supernatural gift from God and not something we self generate .
I’m sharing what God is teaching me, Roddy, but I’m not “making” it a work to believe. Jesus is the One who called it a work. “Jesus replied, This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He has sent [that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger].” John 6:29 Amplified
I am excited. I am seeing more how the body of Christ is hearing the Spirit and being able to verbalize the truths that uncover the doctrinal deceptions that have blinded us to what it is to BE a Christian. I love this message as it really is more and more specific about the differences b/w believing and believing. I plan to share.
Sometimes I just have to look up and say, I trust you God…even tho everything around me is twirling…I just look up and say I trust YOU!!
Even if I don’t feel like it…
I just thought of a song by Don Potter, it says I want to be known for clinging to the Lord of Life…I want to be known for being helpless in His Presence…may I be ever know for the one who says I love the LOrd for Love has captured me and won’t let go…how bout you , how bout you??? ( or something very similar to that…
“I want to be known for being helpless in His Presence.”
Me too Sam…me too…
It seems to me that the raciest freefloating scoundrals who are complete noncomformists, when finaly they turn to Christ become the most devoted lovers of Him of all; even those who grew up in the church and tried to conform all along.
Ahaha, good one Jack.
I just cannot imagine brother Peter managing in a sunday-morning meeting.
Dear Jennifer, thank you.