There are some beliefs that form the basis of our whole view of reality as Christians. For many Christians these are enumerated in one of the creeds. There are other beliefs that sustain us from moment to moment in times of serious difficulty and where mere human willpower is frustratingly inadequate.
First, what are we believing about the power to subdue our sin tendencies and the power to grow in character strength? With the best of intentions, some have sought to accomplish these things with their own willpower, perhaps even congratulating themselves on taking responsibility for aiming toward these praiseworthy objectives. But God wants us to be in relationship with Him. This is a matter of submitting ourselves to Him, depending on Him and trusting in Him, all of which is opposed to the mere exercise of human willpower. We have a vital assurance from Romans 6:14: “Sin shall not have dominion over you.”
Second, what are we believing in regard to other practical situations? For example, some Christians place a burden on themselves in the area of self-discipline, believing that it reflects a praiseworthy sense of responsibility. Then they find themselves frustrated by repeated failures. But they might be likened to an employee who keeps walking long distances without realizing the company car is available. In other words, God wants us to move forward, even in continuous forceful action, toward achieving practical goals using the discipline He grants to us. If the discipline in a given situation is what we need, we can believe in Him for it.
Third, what are we believing for regarding other people? If, let’s say, we have loved ones living unwisely, we can begin believing for God’s wisdom to take root in their lives. Believing for God’s blessing for another never removes the need for people to seek God on their own, but until that happens and even after that, we can take faith responsibility for them in times of difficulty.
Even though a small amount of faith can make a great difference, Jesus doesn’t want us to be like those He spoke of as “of little faith.” For instance, do we suppose God loves us just a little, or do we believe in a tremendous “John 3:16″ kind of love (“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son…”) Do we believe He has enough love to forgive us? Enough to cleanse us from unrighteousness when that has been repeatedly manifest in our lives? Enough to help us even with minor difficulties?
May our belief be so wholehearted and all-encompassing that we depend on the greatness of his power toward us (Ephesians 1:7) and are thankful to Him accordingly. Let’s have a big picture of how much power can be exercised by believing. Let’s believe that God is giving us power for conquering sin, building up character strength, drawing on healing, joy, and peace, and for living like people who are forgiven and loved. Let’s react to things in terms of believing that God has promises and purposes for us and, as we believe these things before they become manifest, we will discover over time that we can thank Him on the basis of our actual experience.