Today and tomorrow I want to do something different. I need YOUR help for an upcoming post regarding a controversial topic which I’m willing to bet has affected you in some way during your life. Before I ask for input, I need to give some background.
Why Do You Believe It?
Most of you know by now I always stress the importance of digging deep into your Bible. Just because Uncle Johnny or Pastor Tim or Grandma Rose said it’s true doesn’t mean it’s biblical. Now, don’t get me wrong. All those wonderful mentors God placed in your life are to be listened to, but it’s important for you to speak with God on any subject matter. God speaks to us through his Word, so don’t depend on the words of others to tell you the truth. Are you following me on this one? Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (not the word man speaks and references the word of God).
It never fails that I get a blank stare when I ask students (or even adults) certain questions about their beliefs. For instance, if you and I were to have a conversation about this, it might go something like this:
ME: What do you believe about ________?
YOU: I believe _____, _______, and ______ .
ME: Why do you believe that?
This is usually where I hear something like, “Well, when I was little, Pastor Tim and all my Sunday School teachers taught me that the Bible says so.” OR I might hear, “Because the Bible says so.”
Does this type of conversation sound about right? My next question is always“Where does it say that in the Bible?”
Don’t Be Afraid of a Challenge
Understand I don’t do this because I don’t believe the same thing as you (or whoever I’m talking to). As a matter-of-fact, I may agree wholeheartedly with what I’m being told, but what good is a belief if you don’t really know why you believe it? You can’t base your foundation on something someone told you even if they are the most knowledgeable pastor in the world. Can you prove your belief to someone who disagrees and tries to shake you? If your foundation is firm, you will not be shaken.
Your foundation will never be firm if it’s not based on the one and only truth. If someone teaches you something, make it a habit to find out WHY. Why is what they’re telling you the truth?
Even if that pastor is referencing a specific book and verse of the Bible, write it down and look it up for yourself. Read it in context – meaning read the verses before and after it. What’s going on in the particular scripture? Pray before you start reading, and ask God to speak to you about the subject.
I Believed Wrong for 33 Years
I’m almost 34 years old, and I’ve been told over and again about something that was straight from the Bible, and I saw it written exactly how it was told to me. I have even used it many times in talking to youth. It’s a scripture of “forewarning” basically. However, just last year I ran across another scripture that contradicted that one, and I was confused. God does NOT contradict himself. Ever.
Instead of doing what I’m telling you right now, I went to someone I respect and value. This person gave me great information about how Christians and Theologians have debated the topic because it seemed to be contradictory. This person even gave what sounded to be a great explanation on the meaning behind both scriptures.
I wasn’t sold on it, though, so I decided to do some research myself. What I found is once I put that one verse into context with the surrounding verses, it was not even about what I had been taught. It was something completely different, and I felt like a fraud myself for teaching it to others without checking with God first. Instead I trusted mentors, pastors, and someone I go to on any biblical questions, and they all said the same thing. I just assumed it must be right because I had heard it from so many different people for so long. It took 33 years to learn I believed something only because it’s what was taught. God showed me the actual meaning when I gave him the opportunity to.
I took my findings to the respected person who admittedly told me the explanation was all assumption. This person really didn’t know anything about this other verse that seemed contradictory. This person confided later that because of all of my research and scriptures I had found, they were led to research as well and realized their belief wasn’t correct as well.
Let this be a lesson. Don’t let pride get in your way. You’re much more credible if you simply say you don’t know but that you’ll look into it rather than make up a bunch of baloney to sound more intelligent.
Can I Shake Your Foundation?
Tomorrow I’m going to challenge one of your beliefs. It’s one I’m certain every person regardless of religious background or affiliation has a stance on. So make sure you check back because I’m going to ask you:
1. What do you believe about this particular topic
2. Why do you believe that way?
3. Back it up with scripture.
Be ready. I’m anxious to hear your thoughts, and it will be used in an upcoming post.