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Believing is different than thinking or knowing. A belief is a premise not truly known but something we accept because we either want to believe in it, or it is a premise that we choose to believe in because we strongly suspect that it is likely true. The thing that sets a belief apart from a thought is we consider and trust a belief as a truth and will make other decisions using our belief as a foundation.
Believing is similar to thinking as they both originate in the mind. Because of the decisions we make that flow from our trust in our personal beliefs, we experience consequences from what we choose to believe, regardless if our choices are based on true or false beliefs. Those consequences have a direct affect on our life. This is why it is important what we believe about God. It is also why Satan is so active in the religious realm.
We make or base our everyday decisions upon what we "truly" believe. Not what we just say we believe, but what we truly believe, down in our hearts, in our inner most core motivation.
In addition our beliefs affect our ability to determine truth. If we take on false beliefs, we can easily assume something false as true.
In contrast, "knowing" takes place in man's spirit and is then conveyed to the mind where it is interpreted. Biblically uneducated people often mistakenly believe that knowing is an advanced form of believing. Having some evidence that something could be true, and having no evidence that something is false, neither one is truly knowing something. While seeming logical, this is a grossly errored conclusion, where one uses incomplete data to try to determine truth in their mind. How many times have people declared something true to later, find out that is wasn't.
There is a concept that is often regularly taught at the college level that falsely says one must believe something before they can know it. Such a concept regulates knowing into strictly a mind process, which is bogus. This is a logical conclusion to someone who wants to believe the mind is the highest, most noble part of man. The fact is the mind is not the most noble part of man. A person can believe something in their mind and they can know something completely different, AT THE SAME TIME. We see examples of this all the time, especially when it comes to an acceptance of God.
Many make a decision to believe in or not believe in God. Since God gave each of us a free will, we can make this kind of choice. However there is a very real issue here having to do with honesty that is often missed. It is missed because in the world we ignore the spiritual realm. We know in our spirit.
Someone will say they don't believe in God. But at the same time, in their spirit, they know that there is a God. God has placed in every person the knowledge that there is a God. Logic would say that what we know should be trusted far more than what we believe. Because of our free will we can pick and choose our own reality.
So why would someone choose to not believe in something they already knew?
Maybe fear, lust, greed, rebellion to the truth, etc, etc. So a persons honesty and desire to seek out truth are key to finding God. The consequences of sin, and they will come, also help a person to get out of themselves and start to seek out what is true.
So on the outside thinking (or believing) and knowing seem similar. The negative ramifications of trusting what one thinks (or believes) as something they know are huge. God has the answer to this problem if a person gets deep enough into their Christian walk to understand the architecture of how the God man relationship works. I wish it was regularly taught in the church.
For the biblically uneducated, it is an easy assumption to claim that Christians live by "blind" faith. However, when one understands the thought, belief and knowing processes God designed for mankind, then a person begins to understand that it is only living by faith in God that mankind has access to his full decision making faculties. It is really not blind faith at all. It is trusting in a God who has proven His word over and over and there is no reason to not trust Him.
God made man in three parts; the human spirit, a soul, and a body. Worldly thinking typically only recognizes mankind to have a soul and a body. To them the soul rules over the body and to their logic then the mind would be the most noble part of the soul, over the will and emotions. From God's perspective, living this way, is in reality, just an existence. Even if we polish our godless life, it is still just an existence and is not the pure, righteous life that is available in Christ.
Out of this incomplete thinking arises "heretical" doctrines like:
- The mind of man is the most noble part of man.
- Self centeredness.
- Belief that the soul and human spirit are the same.
I have not written unto you because you know not the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. [1st John 2:21]
Then said Jesus to those Jews who believed on him, If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed;
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. [John 8:31-32]
How do you change the course of history?
You affect what people "believe".
People want others to think they make decisions based on truth or what they know. However, in actuality people make a majority of their decisions based on what they think, what they want, and what they feel. Their soul. In other words they are making decisions based upon their own limited perception. Such is subject to error. To the unbeleiver there is their soul and the world and nothing else. But the believer realizes that there is more to the picture. The believer has an extra assurance. God is with them and God is bigger that whatever situation they are in.
Have you ever heard someone say they made the decision because they wanted it even though they knew it was a wrong decision?
So how does God want us to think?
God wants us first to walk in what we truly know.
Then He wants us the walk in belief of His word for everything else.
There are many things we don't know, thats when God wants us to choose to believe His word. Some where in the scriptures there is parallel instructions to every event we face in life. We are not used to seeking and trusting God like that, but we can. It starts by choosing to believe the scriptures. That is why we need to study the Bible. Going to church once or twice a week isn't enough. We should not be under condemination for not studying the Bible, but we should incorporate regular study into our lives. If we cannot do it under the current structure of our lives, make changes so you can. That is a major shift from how we naturally think. Yet our natural thinking is so limited. Why would we choose to trust something so limited as the natural realm, when we have access to what is complete in God?
"Jesus said to him, Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through his name." [John 20:29-31]
So why do the scriptures use the word believe over and over? God is wanting us to choose to trust His words. When Jesus says: "Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed", Jesus is saying: "Thomas, you have made a decision to believe me after you realized that I had risen from the dead". In this case Thomas waited until he had physical evidence that Jesus was risen from the dead, before Thomas made the choice to believe. Didn't Thomas know that Jesus was the Mesiah since he lived with Jesus daily? Of course.
So then why would Jesus go on to say: "blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed"?
Is Jesus expecting people to believe things without any verification? No. You can have verification in the natural and the is also the verification in what a person truly knows in their spirit. Again, use caution because thinking one knows something is thinking not knowing. Thomas "knew" in his spirit that Jesus was the Mesiah. But he refused to choose to believe it till he had natural proof. Jesus is telling Thomas that those that choose to accept what they know are blessed. Worldly proofs are deceptive.
We usually don't come to Christ until we have expired most other options including religious options. Often the reason for this is, that without articulating it, is we know or sense that in acknowledging Jesus Christ, we will no longer be our own king over our lives. Jesus is very gentle with us. He is not playing the dominant warrior conquering His foes by crushing every sign of rebellion. Nor is He a vicious dictator, whose forces will extract obedience with immediate violent force. Jesus desires us to give Him our hearts (our innermost core motivation) and He then leads us by the truth, righteousness and love of His word.
Just studying the Bible or thinking about Jesus Christ will have little to no effect on our lives. Those people often call Jesus a good man. That is what they think, but because they have not entered into truly believing, they do not accept the truth of who Jesus is. The choice of choosing to believe this word of God starts the process of our hearts converting from following our self to following God. Our choosing to actually believe, changes the object of what (who) we are trusting. If we asked if it was more logical to trust God or to trust ourselves, most people would say it would be more logical to trust God. Yet in the actual decisions we make, we so often trust ourselves over God. We end up trusting what we think, what we want, and what we feel. God came to change that and to change it with our willful cooperation.
When we choose to believe the will of God, we will see in due time, that there are often blessings that come with our obedience to His will. Even in the lives of believers experiencing the most difficult of times, these blessing are evident. When God said to Thomas: "blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed" God was showing that the greater faith of those choosing to believe, would be blessed by God. It is easy for us to condemn Thomas, but don't we sometimes do the same thing. God is desiring to lead us out of trusting only in the natural to trusting what we know to be true and the will of God.
A knowing in our spirit never conflicts with what is actually true. It will however, conflict with what our flesh and the world calls true.
When someone hears the will of God there are several common reactions. If they want to reject the will of God, they will get mad, they will dodge it or they will ignore it. All of these are decisions to reject God. If we make the decision to believe the will of God then it cause our own soul to submit under God. Of course we always have the option to play religion and pretend be believe when we don't truly.
God is asking us to make the decision to believe His word, period.
The scriptures say: "blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." God is saying that we are blessed if we choose to believe the scriptures even without seeing Jesus Christ physically walk on this earth. For some that blessing that comes by believing without seeing, may just be their ticket to Heaven and their missing eternity in Hell. For others who have the time and the heart to seek out the God of the scriptures, their lives will experience the real life God intended for us here on earth and if serious about it, they can have it more abundantly. Either way they will be blessed.
Many will not have the privileged position of Thomas to see and walk with Jesus as Thomas did. Yet we have two valuable resources, the scriptures and our knowing that God is real. Every person knows that there is a God. While many choose to believe otherwise, they have an internal conflict. That is why people who say they don't believe in God often hate God. They channel their energy into hate to block out acknowledging the truth of God. They choose to believe what they want to believe, or they have to choose to accept what they know to be true. We experience that same struggle as we study the Bible scriptures. We are so used to believing everything from our soulish perspective, that we often have a hard time believing some of the scriptures. Yet at the same time we "know" the scriptures are correct. The choice is: do we believe what we think, or do we believe what we know. Yes there are times that our understanding has scriptures out of context, but that is rare compared to a choice of choosing between what we know and what we think.
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world". [1st John 4:1]
Believing other spirits or things that are not of God will have the same effect as believing anything false. We will be impacted with the negative consequences of lies and deceptions. God expects us to test or try, what we think we should choose to believe. This is most logical. The Bible is our standard. If something is out of line, then it will have a negative impact on the life God has designed for us. Just because we have immediate gain does not mean it is a blessing from God.
"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." [Hebrews 11:6]
God expects us to believe in Him. Faith is genuine belief. Without believing in Him, without having faith in God, it is impossible to please God. Once we come to where we choose to believe in God, then we also choose to believe that He is. He exists, His word is true, we trust a God that we cannot see with our eyes. God expects us to believe that we are dealing with the creator of the universe. Because God works through his will expressed in His word, for those that choose to believe, . . . God will reward those "that diligently seek Him" Receiving God's reward is conditional. We do choose to diligently seek God and His will. When we do, God will honor his word.
"That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation. For the scripture said, Whoever believes on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich to all that call on him. For whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." [Romans 10:9-13]
Thinking or even studying, will not of itself, change a person's destiny. If thinking helps form ones beliefs then the beliefs can change a person's present situation and also their destiny. How God designed people to think is different than how we naturally think. We will go into that in another lesson. Believing is an important part of the thinking process. It is where we put action to our thoughts. We make decisions to accept or act upon on what we determine is true. Salvation has two basic foundational parts. First we confess that this Lord Jesus Christ, Him God raised from the dead. We confess this with our mouth, from what we have chosen to believe. We are not just speaking forth words from mental assent. In addition we have to have actually made the choice to believe in our hearts "that God has raised him (Jesus Christ) from the dead". If we have done that, we "shall be saved".
With our hearts, our innermost motivation, we make the choice to believe God's word and that results in our salvation. We are saved into a new kingdom, the kingdom of God.
The scriptures say:
"For what said the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness." [Romans 4:3]
Just as God counted Abraham righteous for believing God, God also counts us righteous when we choose to believe.
Believing is not knowing. However if one chooses to believe what God says is true then many things in time a person will come to realize that they are true and they actually know it. The Spirit of God actually bears witness of the truth in our human spirit. Some things I may not know until I get to heaven. Then there are beliefs that I misunderstood that will be exposed either in the future or when we get to heaven.
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