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What does it mean to believe?

By  Peter Shaw, Youth Speak News
  • September 7, 2022

“I believe in God, the Father Almighty.”

These words we utter as Christians quite often, but what do they mean? Although it appears to be an acknowledgement of God’s existence at first glance, it means so much more.

First, it is essential to consider what “God” truly means, as the name signifies something more significant than what cannot be imagined. Knowing that God exists is nothing special. After all, both Judas and Satan believed in God before they betrayed Him. Many pearls of wisdom stem from this knowledge. For example, God created the universe. Therefore, the Creator is infinitely good, infinitely powerful, infinitely just, infinitely merciful and the self-sufficient grand designer of the world. 

Following this, we need to define “believe.” Knowing that God is real is not enough. One has to believe in Him authentically. This means having faith in Him in the same way that one would cheer a friend, saying, “I believe in you!” It means to love Him identically to how a child believes in one of his heroes. One must trust God, follow Him and do what He wants.

From here, we must ask ourselves whether we believe in God solely in our words or deep in our hearts. For instance, remember the example of the Roman soldiers who mocked Jesus. Quoting passages from Mark 15:16-19, it appears as if they wanted to treat Christ like a king: “Then the soldiers led Him into the governor’s palace, and they called together the whole cohort. And they clothed him in a purple cloak. And they began saluting him, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ They knelt in homage to Him.” 

The rest of the story, however, reveals their true, sadistic intentions: “Then the soldiers led Him into the courtyard of the palace, and they called together the whole battalion, and twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on Him. They struck His head with a reed and spat upon Him.” 

We must ask ourselves if we are like these soldiers, intermittently faithful to Jesus in our words and actions but never sufficiently in our minds. These actions from the Romans are quite an extreme example, but it makes for a compelling case study. 

The big lesson you can take away from this Biblical precedent is the power of words versus the weight of actions. The Roman expressed a bunch of pretty yet shallow platitudes towards our Lord and Saviour and then turned on a dime and subjected Jesus to profound torture with His actions. We can recite prayers and make thoughtful statements about how we love God, but are we staying rooted in our convictions when friends or people we encounter tempt us to walk down the secular path? It is pivotal that one remembers that faith in God is a commitment, not a passing feeling. 

The conclusion that can be taken from this is that one needs more than just acknowledging God’s existence to believe in Him. He is greater than anything that can be imagined, and so one must trust in Him. One must truly have faith in God, and be willing to follow His commandments. Finally, one must be prepared to love God continuously, not only in speech, but also in thought and action.

(Shaw, 16, is home schooled in Barry’s Bay, Ont.)

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