Let’s say you have been born from above. God has regenerated you. You were once dead, but now you are alive in God. You are a believer. Then my question to you is a bit different.
Are you a believer who believes? Are you a believing believer? (See Mark 9:24).
Here are some questions, which I hope will assist you in reflecting upon and responding to my query.
How you answer them will inform you if you are a believer who really believes. When I use the word believe, I also mean all of its synonyms like trust, faith, confidence, and hope.
Do you have your confidence in God as opposed to yourself? Are you exercising faith in God because He is right rather than trusting in your strength or wisdom? Try these on for size and see if you are a believing believer:
Are you a Christian who is characterized by worry?
Are you a Christian who is unwilling to forgive someone?
Are you a Christian who holds anger or resentment toward someone?
Are you a Christian who lives in regret or guilt about decisions in your past?
Are you a Christian who refuses to submit to the clear teaching of Scripture on a matter?
Are you a Christian who rarely or never confesses your sin or asks others to forgive you?
Are you a Christian who is bitter or critical toward another person and refuses to forgive them?
Are you a Christian who is unwilling to submit to your biblical authorities, e.g., spouse, church leaders?
If any one of the characterizations on this list is how you generally operate, then the first place to begin assessing your heart is whether or not you are a Christian. I appeal to you not to punch your “salvation ticket” too quickly, but humbly examine yourself to see whether you are in the faith.
I would further appeal to you to ask other spiritually mature men or women who know you well to bring their observations to you. It’s too important not to take this seriously and soberly.
A person who has been born again would be humble enough to allow another person to speak into their life. A proud–possibly un-regenerated–person would be angered or bothered or impatient with someone “questioning their salvation.”
Let’s assume you are a Christian, but one of the issues in the list above is how you struggle. If this is the case, then you are an unbelieving believer. You’re a believer who does not fully believe in all Christ has for you.
The point of emphasis for the unbelieving believer is not about their salvation, but about their sanctification. It’s hugely important you understand and make the distinction between being regenerated and progressive sanctification. Both of these doctrines require faith–belief, hope, trust, and confidence in God.
For the believing believer, it is not about whether you are a Christian, but whether or not you’re going to step-up to your inheritance from your heavenly Father and truly live in the good of the complete Gospel. Are you going to become who you already are?
If you become grumpy, frustrated, angry, possibly let out an expletive, or use some unkind sign language, then you are an unbelieving believer at that moment.
Before you can ever think rightly about the circumstances in your life, you have to think rightly about God. In fact, it is how you think about God that will give you your interpretation and your perspective of the circumstances in your life.
If you believe that God is good, then that is how you will interpret what is going on in your world. That will not mean that what is going on in your world will always make sense or be according to your preferences.
It simply means that your view of God–He is good–will trump the evil in your world and give you the sense to think biblically about your suffering.
You do have a grid for how you interpret and respond to what is in your life. Did you know that? That grid will determine your life. It will control you.
One of the ways you can “test yourself” is by re-asking those eight questions above. How you answer those questions will tell you immediately if evil generally trumps good or if good generally trumps the evil in your life.
Joseph had a “good trumps evil” worldview: … you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good… – Genesis 50:20 (ESV)
Joseph did not deny either the good or the evil in his life, but the one (good) that took priority in his heart determined not only how he responded to his brothers, but how he thought about and responded to God.
What has more control of your heart: the goodness of God or the evil in your life? How you answer that question will tell you quickly if you are a believer who believes or if you’re an unbelieving believer.
Pretend you’re a marionette, with strings attached to your limbs. Who or what controls those strings is your theology. If the evil in your life controls you, then you’re an unbelieving believer. If God is the one controlling those strings, then you’re a believing believer.
If you are more controlled by the evil in your world, then you must reconcile that with God before you can interact with the evil or the people who are behind the evil.
If your starting point is not “God is good and He is working His good in my life through this horrible circumstance,” then I will tell you that you will never be able to navigate successfully through the circumstance.
You don’t have the empowering grace to work through this. Your efforts will collapse around you and your disappointment will only compound. Before you can make things right with your “enemy,” you must make things right with your God, the One who allowed your enemy to bring the evil into your world.
A Gospel primer:
There are two ways to stand at the foot of Calvary and look upon a dying king. Either what you see is evil trumping good and your life will be unalterably disappointing or His death is good trumping evil and you’re about to turn the world upside down.
How will you approach your disappointments?
Do you stumble like the Jew? Do you pass it off as foolishness like the Gentile? Or do you see that what God is allowing is His wisdom and His power?
…we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. – 1 Corinthians 1:23-24 (ESV)
Will you become a believing believer today? By: Rick Thomas.net