The speaker for our class last week started out her time by asking the class for introductions. She asked where they were from, what they were passionate about and one thing they’ve learned so far during the school.
This question, “What are you passionate about?” is a good one and although I have looked at various branches of my passion and tried to articulate these things well, I had not come to the direct point until the other day. I think what helped me with this was that the speaker said, “You’re not allowed to say, ‘Jesus.’ We’re all here because we’re passionate about Jesus.” She was right, of course. I never felt like this answer was a cop-out because it is true of me, but being forced to find a more specific way to express myself was enlightening….
My answer, when the question came to me was that I am passionate about people knowing who the real God really is. It sounds pretty basic, but I truly believe that what you believe about God is absolutely the foundation for who you believe yourself to be and how you live your life. Since saying this out loud in class last week, I have been seeing this even more clearly: Christians who don’t live in a way that matches what they say they believe because they won’t admit what they truly believe; whole nations with (for example) the worldview that individual lives are not important but everyone is together in cycles of reincarnation, who, as a result of this belief will not kill a bug, but also will not feed a starving person.
What we believe about God absolutely matters.
What I feel most passionate about, in all of this, is God’s reputation and his image. Not because he needs this, but because he is worthy to be seen for who he really is and we need this. My words about him will not make anything of him, they will simply reveal what is in my own heart and mind, but I desperately long to know him for who he really is and to show that to other people as well.
I will not now address all of the things that I believe to be misrepresentations and misunderstandings about him. But I want to get started by saying this one thing: What we believe about God matters.
I’ve heard several people make the comment that it doesn’t matter what you believe, it matters how you act. This statement completely misses the reality that your beliefs shape your actions. Everyone has beliefs. We act out of those beliefs, good or bad. Whether you believe in God or not, you believe something about how you got here, why you are here and who you are. Your beliefs inform your actions and your actions impact the individuals around you and, ultimately, the world.
Knowing my own ability to get things wrong, seeing the well intentioned mistakes of myself and others…. remembering the many arguments I heard in Bible college about doctrine… I know that seeking to be absolutely right misses the point if it is done without love. What I do want to do is challenge you to care about the truth. Not for the sake of being right, but for the sake of knowing God well and living your life based on what is true and real.
What drives me is the belief that God is so much more loving and holy, so much more forgiving and just, merciful and powerful than most of us give him credit for. He is beautiful and worthy of our praise and our love.
Just because this is difficult and it is probably impossible to get everything right, doesn’t mean it’s not a worthy cause. A healthy thing to consider is how prone we are to swing to wild extremes. If the Moderns believed that utopia was possible, then the Post-Moderns, in their disillusionment did a great job of, childishly, throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I want to challenge you to allow your worldview to be challenged. Ask hard questions. Ask yourself, ask me, ask God…
Why should we help other people? Why do we send missionaries to other nations? Why should we pray? Why do people suffer? What is love? What is the purpose of living? How do God’s sovereignty and love work together? Does God speak to people? When and why would he choose to speak?
What are your questions?
What do your actions say about your beliefs?