I heard once that prior to the Greeks, the ancient Hebrew meaning of the word implied action, that is, to believe is to act upon that belief with conviction.  Perhaps it was the Greeks who were into arguing about ideas that watered down the word to mean an intellectual conviction.  Today, we “believe”, but we don’t act.
I have a mixed reaction to the word and for many years of my life that word scared me because it meant action, but somewhere along the line that changed and I struggled with when to take a stand on something.

cropped-dscn0726.jpgAs kids we daydream of being the hero and rescuing someone or getting attention for doing something great.  There’s conviction in that, but have you noticed that rarely if ever in the cartoons does the hero have to sacrifice anything for that conviction?  In the real world it’s not like that.  When you stand on a principle or action, there are real consequences.  Some of them are severe.

The military trains men to stand in the face of death and risk life and limb.  This act is done with blind trust that their superiors are doing the right, or necessary thing.  To face this trial, they must have complete conviction in their leadership and a willingness to go the distance knowing that they may never return to their families.
For me, simple belief is not enough.  Real belief demands action and it’s followed based on conviction. Conviction is a better word because it implies that you have been found guilty of acting in a manor consistent with your belief.Let’s take this a bit further and examine the basis for how we act through reason.  In reason, we examine a set of facts, make an assessment, decide something, and depending on the circumstances, we act based on those decisions.  For a thinking society, and particularly people like me that think a lot, there may not follow an action either because we were examining a fictitious scenario or because no action is required.  It’s a little like doing math.  Just because two plus two equals four doesn’t mean that we need to take action.  However, if we’re in a grocery store and we’re using math, the outcome of that decision may dictate an action.  The facts that two plus two equals four has a bearing on the decision, but in and of itself requires no action.
I see a lot of benched Christians and I used to be one myself.  The Bible talks a lot about faith, belief, and it demonstrates action, but our salvation is not based on our action… Well, some could argue that believing in and accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior is an action, and have tried to argue with me that this makes Christianity a works based religion.  All people will bow before Jesus and all people will confess he’s Lord.  Since that’s “all” people and only some find him, I can only argue that this is not enough to get you to heaven.  There’s still an act of faith that’s required.Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying.  I’m not saying that we must do good to earn our salvation, but we must accept the gift that’s offered.  If you want to call that a work and wrap it into all the other things that are “works based” there will be problems with this reasoning.Acting on faith means that we step forward and acknowledge Jesus for who he is.  Then we accept the gift of salvation.  It’s the act of accepting the gift of salvation that changes us because it’s at that moment that the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us and joins with us.  This is where change begins to happen and works are a natural outflow of this relationship.
It’s a bit like a marriage.  Saying “I do” doesn’t make a marriage.  That statement is one of resolve, however, it’s the will that is exercised daily throughout a lifetime that are a confirmation of the words.  It is the relationship.  Being married requires, even demands, that we take certain actions to support and love our spouse.  Being in a relationship with God is much the same, it demands action.

The truth is, all relationship based things require action.  A relationship involves communication and to communicate there must be action.  The message we deliver flows out of our actions.

Having a relationship with Jesus requires an act of will, not an intellectual acknowledgment.  Even Satan acknowledges Jesus for who he is, but his actions demonstrate his loyalties.  The relationship we have with others is evidenced by our actions.

Do you have conviction to act on what you believe? In other words, do you stand for Him, or do you stand for someone else?

If you really believe what you say you believe then your actions will naturally follow and be consistent with your beliefs.

One response to “belief”

  1. […] others to get our hands dirty and help with the real work about changing lives?  Do we really believe in what we say as demonstrated by our […]

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