There seems to me to be a great abyss between belief and trust. Maybe one of these comes easier to you than the other, but they are definitely not the same thing. Let’s use Peter for an example. This whole walking on water thing baffles me. Surely all of the other disciples believed that walking on water was possible. Right? Jesus was demonstrating for them first hand that walking on water was now within the reach of reality. But Peter was the only one who seemed to have more than just a belief. He had trust. He said to Jesus, if you tell me to walk on water then I will attempt to walk on water. And he did.
Trust is an action that demonstrates our beliefs. Trust is always an action. Think about it, when you say to someone “I trust you” it is because something is about to happen. You are getting ready to engage them in some way that requires your belief in them to be tested. And truth be told, the lack of trust is often proof that we really don’t believe. This reminds me of a story in Mark 9 where Jesus is having a conversation with a dad about the healing of his son. Jesus tells the dad that anything is possible to those who believe. The dad responds “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.” Here is our modern day translation of the dad’s declaration – “if all it takes is for me to say that I believe that it’s true then I’m good to go. But if it takes a demonstration of trust in those beliefs, then your going to have to help me do that.” I think the same could be said as a summary for many people in the Christian faith. In our preeminent Christian culture, it is not hard to find plenty of folks who would affirm the many beliefs presented in the new testament. Let me show you what I mean. Surely you believe the following is true:
That it is better to give than to receive.
That when we give it comes back to us in an even greater way.
That God challenges us to give generously so that he can give even more to us so that we would have enough to give even more away.
It would be tough to say that you follow Christ but do not believe that these things are true since they are all right out of the New Testament. But what about the action of trust that proves these beliefs?
Lori and I have been blessed to be able to give away three vehicles. I would like to say that it was no big deal but that would be a lie, especially in regards to the first one. We felt that God wanted to rearrange our beliefs concerning generosity and being willing to give anything that we had to give. When I felt that he was leading me to give away my car, my belief system was put to the test and a battle of my will ensued. I am happy to report that we responded the right way that time, but there have been plenty of occasions where our beliefs were just not ready to be put into action.
I am challenged today to put to the test the things that I say that I believe. If following Christ is the belief system that I claim to affirm, then it seems reasonable that those ideals translate into the reality that is my life. In fact it is more than reasonable, it is the only way that the world around us will ever know that what we have makes any difference.
It may be that I need to give to someone in need, it may be that I need to love the unlovely, or forgive something that seems unforgivable. Maybe I need to pray for someone who is hurt that they would be healed, or change my business practices to make them full of honor and integrity. Whatever the challenging belief, there is a trusting action that needs to be fulfilled.
See you on the water.