Believing In God Versus Believing Him

The words below are not mine. They belong to a friend, Jennifer Kauffman. I want to share them here so I always know where to go to find them.

Believing ‘in’ God (only acknowledging that he exists):

  • I have no expectation that he is faithful or that he is concerned about me.
  • I have no expectation that he will do something powerful in my life.
  • I have no expectation that he will save me from certain insanity. I am powerless and hopeless.
  • I have no expectation that he has any power.
  • I have no expectation that he will use me to further his kingdom.

‘Believing’ God (expecting things from God):

  • I experience peace that God is in control, that he is trustworthy and that I’ll be delivered by God’s hand.
  • I experience the joy and excitement of contemplating what incredible things God can do in my life, and how he can use me.
  • I experience the peace that comes through surrendering myself to him by trusting him even when what I see is chaos.
  • I experience God’s power through answered prayers (answered the way HE answers them, not the way I hope he answers them).
  • I experience the privilege of being used to expose people around me to God’s truth, light and hope.

I confess I’ve fallen into the first category a lot this past year. I’ve had category two moments as well, just not nearly as often.

Believing God is a choice. Easy enough. And yet, it’s complicated.

Why is it complicated?

Well, it’s actually simple. (Heh. Confused yet?)

This world hurts us. When it does, we tend to blame God, which makes it harder for us to trust Him the next time around. Most of us aren’t masochists. We don’t like to feel pain. So, we cower from that which we perceive causes us pain. We cower from God.

The reasoning goes like this: “Maybe if I just go about my business down here, He’ll ignore me. Then I won’t feel pain.”

Uhh… Problem. If I shut myself off from God, I shut myself off from His joy as well. It may seem like a fine trade at first, but over the long haul, it’s a cr@ppy bargain. (That little nugget of wisdom comes from my friend, Experience.)

Lastly, some encouragement.

As you read the following scripture, imagine dropping all your baggage (duffel bags, suitcases, laundry bags, et al) and walking away from it. Ahhh. That feels better…

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3 12-14 NIV)