Belief matters. It is quite impossible to overemphasize that fact.
Belief determines our perceptions of reality. Belief shapes every thought, decision, and action.
Belief defines the parameters of what is possible. Belief emerges from the soul-from that inner core of our being that defines who we are and what we do, even altering the contour of eternity. Belief is also really cool. I mean, think about it for a minute. God has built into your soul the capacity to ponder ideas and concepts — and I'm not just talking about simple things you can see or touch. You have the ability to contemplate things like love, truth, injustice, and success...even the most phenomenal issues of our existence having to do with purpose, meaning, direction, and vision for life — all these things we have the capacity to believe.
Definable: believe (bi˘-lēv’) v. 1. To accept as true or real.
2. To have faith, confidence, or trust.
Everybody believes. Everybody. Even those who say they believe in nothing believe that that nothing exists. All humans have a grid of thought, a matrix of memories and pool of ponderings that make up their system of belief.
Yes, everybody believes, but belief only has a positive effect when what you believe is actually true and real. In the end it really doesn't matter how much you believe. (Remember, according to Matthew 17:20, the faith of a mustard seed can move mountains.) What matters is what you believe. You can believe with all your heart that the brakes on your car might work, or that a chair will hold you up, or that a fat guy in a red suit will squeeze himself down your chimney, but if that's not an objective fact, what you ultimately experience is going to be far different from what you believe. That's where truth comes in. For those who say we believe in God, conformity and fidelity is to God himself, but unless we know what is true about him, our distorted beliefs will cripple our experience of him.
Definable: truth (trōōth) n. 1. Something that conforms
to reality, actuality. 2. Sincerity; integrity. 3. That which
is considered to have the ultimate meaning and value of
Some people believe that there is no such thing as truth. But even that gets a little bit complicated. If you ask them, "Is it true that there is no such thing as truth?" they will likely answer yes without contemplating the contradiction. I know that's odd, but do you see why this is important? People believe that it is true that there is no such thing as truth. Weird.
Contemplatable: "I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them"
Again, the facts are this: Everybody believes, and whether we like it or not, truth exists. Now here's the catcher. (This is where the power comes in.) It sounds so simple that you might overlook its magnitude: When what we believe is truth, we have "true belief." True belief is having confidence in what is right and aligning ourselves with it. Think about that for a moment.
Understanding that fact on a heart level ignites a new zeal in the soul; a sense of urgent importance begins to fuel new priorities; a burning desire emerges from within. True belief can take your life to a totally different level. This isn't just philosophy, theology, or psychology...belief and truth are reality. When our beliefs are aligned with truth, our lives become aligned with what is real, and that is powerful. Really powerful. That means your energy and your decisions are consistent with spiritual and physical laws that govern our existence. A harmony emerges-our choices begin to coincide with the way things are supposed to be. Why? Because belief matters, and what you believe matters. To overemphasize that fact is nearly impossible.
Questionable: Do you think most people think about the connection between truth, belief, and the decisions they make? Why or why not?
Unleashing Truth in a Skeptical World
"Heaven Is a Place on Earth." That's the belief that Lisa Miller investigated for the January 28, 2008 issue of Newsweek. She was referring to the growing influence of Scientology and its deceased founder, L. Ron Hubbard. In the process, she addressed the idea that Suri (the young daughter of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes) is the reincarnation of Hubbard. She noted that Madonna, Kate Hudson, and other influential stars have professed a belief that they will one day return in a new body. But people with too much time and too much money aren't the only ones who are falling for this contortion. According to a Harris poll, 40 percent of Americans aged 25 to 29 believe they will return in a different body after they die. If the woman in the cubicle next to you or a guy lacing up his shoes in the locker room shared with you that he or she believes in reincarnation, how would you respond? That's just one of thousands of examples of lies that people sincerely believe. What can we do about it? What can you do about it? You have a unique sphere of influence; no one else in the entire world knows all the same people you know. So if God wants to reach people in your unique sphere with truth, you might be the best candidate for a shoulder tap from the Almighty. Each of us must learn to stand on the bedrock of truth. When Cameron, our first son, was in second grade, he came home one day and said, "Daddy, do we believe in re--inter...car...cumcism?" (He meant reincarnation.) "Why do you ask?" I responded.
"Because a boy in my class at school says after we die we are going to come back as something else like a bug or a king depending on whether we were good boys in this life or not. Is that true?"
I opened my Bible, sat him on my lap, and together we read Hebrews 9:27: "Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment." That was all he needed and off he went to play.
It is vital that we identify the essential foundation of belief on which we build all our other convictions. In a world filled with lies and doubt, speaking truth is an important and natural extension of true belief-and I just don't mean speaking to other people. The most important person who needs to hear truth from you is you. After that, God may give you numerous opportunities to share what you believe with other people. But before you can communicate what you believe, you must be certain of what you believe. That's what this book is all about. The journey in the pages ahead will weave through history and theology into your present world.