“Remember that what you believe will depend very much on what you are.” Noah Porter
We must study, listen, search, then carefully hone our core beliefs. Our beliefs will dictate our actions.
It was the middle of a church service and Debbie was playing the organ when the young woman entered the auditorium. Immediately Debbie was attracted to her. There was just something about her…her demeanor…her expression. The service continued, then God spoke to Debbie. You need to go tell that young woman you love her.
Whoa there! “Now, God,” Debbie rationalized, “that would be silly.” Probably not even God, anyway she thought. Probably just me.
You need to go tell that woman you love her. Again, Debbie felt impressed of God, and again she argued. “It would totally disrupt this service if I stopped playing the organ, walked off the platform, and went to that woman and told her I loved her. Anyway, she probably would think that was a bit weird. Never before saw her in my life.”
For the next several minutes, Debbie argued with herself and with God. Her husband was in the middle of giving the altar call, when suddenly before she even knew what she was doing, she had stopped playing the organ and was walking down the aisle, heading to the young lady. At the same time, the young lady left her pew and started for the exit.
“See,” Debbie said to herself. “This probably wasn’t God or she wouldn’t be leaving now.”
Nevertheless she continued and followed the girl to the parking lot. “Hi, my name’s Debbie…” and she went on with a few introductory words…then stammered around a bit and added, “God wanted me to come tell you that I love you.”
Unsmiling, the young woman spoke, “How can you love me? You don’t even know me.”
“Because we’re sisters in Christ. We both belong to Jesus. And besides me loving you, Jesus loves you.” The young lady didn’t seem very receptive, so Debbie concluded the conversation with, “If you ever need anything, I’m here for you. Glad you came to our service today.”
I won’t go into all the details that followed, but a while after this incident Debbie received a phone call from another pastor thanking her for being sensitive to God and for talking with the young woman. The young woman became a part of Debbie’s church and they became close friends.
On the Sunday in question, the young woman, having suffered severe abuse in her childhood, and desperately lonely, had concluded that nobody in the world loved her and that after the morning’s service she would kill herself. She had suffered unspeakable sexual abuse from her mother. Her mother had multilated her face–had broken her jaw and her teeth. Once when she was 17 years old, she came home from school to find a note saying, “We have moved. We don’t know where you will go, but you must be out of this house in two days.” It was to this person that Debbie’s attention was attracted that crucial Sunday morning. It was her belief principle that urged Debbie from her comfortable spot on the organ bench, down the aisle, into the parking lot, and to the ultimate saving of a human life…and an eternal soul.
Beliefs that we have developed by careful research and scrupulous refining will dictate our actions, for what we truly believe is what we are. I’m not referring to the speaking of a memorized creed or some esoteric flimflam. I’m discussing a person’s core and prevailing philosophy. An honest commitment to these thoughts may call for actions that challenge us, and that make us uncomfortable.
My core principles are founded on the Word of God. I have listened to godly men as they expounded those sacred truths, I have read and studied for myself, I have considered and observed, compared and dissected. I camp on Paul’s words to the Philippian Church:
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is god which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” 2:12-13
I cherish the day that I was pointed toward scripture to carve out my beliefs, my principles, my life philosophy. I do not cast about searching for truth, flailing helplessly at the air, nor reaching helter-skelter for some bit of hope or design. The Bible and its precepts are not strange to me, nor is living for God, nor is following the pattern of the early Church. There come moments when full commitment may cause uncomfortable moments as had Debbie on that Sunday morning, but the undergirding strength of such belief and assurance is priceless…and it extends beyond this world.
Neither do I arrogantly ascribe to myself any such monikers as knowing everything, of “having arrived,” of being the fount of truth. No, with much fear and trembling, I continue to work out my own salvation. For I understand that my beliefs will invariably determine my actions.
My devotional blog is here.