DayBreaks for 2/05/2019: Three Kinds of Belief
From the DayBreaks archive, 2009:
In his recent book, Faith & Doubt, John Ortberg describes three kinds of “faith” and suggests we all practice three kinds of faith (or hold three kinds of convictions, if you please).
FIRST: Public faith/conviction: these are the things we say we believe when we’re surrounded by others, like what politicians say in order to win favor, curry votes and get elected. No sooner is someone put into office than they backtrack on the things they said that they believed at one point or another in their campaign speeches. A Biblical example of this kind of faith is King Herod, who told the wise men that after they’d found the baby Jesus, to come back to him and tell him where Jesus was so that “I can go and worship him, too.” After all, it never would have endeared Herod to anyone if he’d said, so that “I can go and kill that baby.” This is very hypocritical faith at best. It changes based on who we’re around because we’re trying to impress them and make ourselves feel good. And it can happen a LOT in churches and in Christian fellowships!
SECOND: Private faith/convictions: these are tricky because they are things that we truly believe that we believe, but when circumstances change, we find out that we really don’t believe it very much after all. These are often things that we desperately WANT to believe, and we may even fool ourselves into thinking we do believe them. A biblical example is Peter, “Lord, I’ll never deny you.” I truly believe that Peter believed that of himself…but Jesus knew Peter’s heart better than Peter did. And so, when the circumstances changed from the warm and friendly confines of the upper room to a courtyard of the high priest after Jesus’ arrest and shouts of “Kill him!” filled the air, Peter found out what he really believed at that point in time. And it isn’t what he would have wanted to believe about himself, but it was the truth.
THIRD: Core faith/convictions: these are what we believe deep down inside, in spite of circumstances or surroundings. These are the things for which we are willing to lay down our lives, if necessary. Ortberg says, we always act in accordance with what we truly believe when the chips are down. That means we must become students of our own behavior – analyzing how we live, how we act, what we do in a wide range of circumstances and settings – and from that we’ll find out what we really believe. Peter’s private faith became a core conviction later in his life when he was martyred for Jesus.
So, here’s a brief summary:
Public faith/conviction: what we say we believe;
Private faith/conviction: what we think we believe;
Core faith/conviction: what we really believe as evidence by what we do.
What’s the point? I fear that many of the things we think we believe are not core convictions. For example, we say we believe God is everywhere and sees everything, right? But, do we live as if we’re aware of His eye on us at ALL times? Or, do we do things in secret that are shameful…and we do them because we really don’t believe He sees us while we’re doing them? We say we believe we should obey the law, yet did you speed today when you were driving? We Christians say, “I’ve accepted Jesus as the Lord of my life,” but have we really? If so, why don’t we obey him in caring for the needy (instead of pretending we don’t see them)? Scary, isn’t it, when we stop to contemplate what it is that we TRULY believe – even what we TRULY believe about God and Jesus.
In some things, we don’t know for sure what is a private conviction and what is a core conviction until our conviction is tested – and then it is revealed for what it truly is.
PRAYER: Oh, Lord, with David we ask you to search our hearts and see if there is any deceitful way in them, reveal to us the truth about our faith that we might cling more tightly to Your Son and the forgiveness He gives us. Help our private convictions regarding Jesus to become core convictions, and if necessary, to even survive the fires of martyrdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>