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Believe It Or Not ~ John C Calkins

Posted: December 2nd, 2016   Category: belief, Faith

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Let’s take a few minutes to talk about the differences and subtle qualities of belief and faith. Understanding this is a matter of great importance to God and there are several very good reasons why it should be equally important to us. Belief is our level of commitment to someone or something while faith is a (usually)  silent demonstration of our love and trust in someone. Given that, what’s the difference between a 99% commitment to something and a 100% commitment? The quick thinkers out there will answer just 1%, but if that is allowed any further application in thought, that 1% can easily become the stark reality between life and death. Can a recovering addict be committed to not relapsing for just 99 out of 100 days? If so, what happens on day 100? If there is no temptation, maybe nothing. Temptation however, is the enemy’s greatest weapon of individual destruction and the enemy is ever vigilant, waiting for just the right opportunity to strike, to deceive and break the uncommitted. We don’t teach our pets to stay off the road only when a car is passing. Most pets don’t associate cars with death so that level of commitment is dangerously inadequate. We teach them to stay off the road without a safety harness or a guardian present. The same is true for everything we do. We avoid poisonous mushrooms all the time. We remove the ammunition or set the safety on a handgun whenever it’s holstered, stored or pending some authorized use. We don’t break our vows, rob banks or mug people ever, because we know there are dire consequences to pay if we do. Believing in God 99% of the time will leave us exposed to destruction the rest of the time. It only takes a second for bad choices to destroy our world and too often, the world’s of those around us. God has used every proactive, positive way to try and make this 100% clear to us but it hasn’t worked well enough. Belief in and of God is not a measurable, it’s an all or nothing choice. We can’t earn a letter grade in BELIEF 101, we will either pass or fail. Here’s the thing, we can’t pass without His tutoring, grace and sacrifices. 99% is just the percentage for those with other priorities. For every branch of God’s family tree, it’s 100% once grafted or nothing at all. “It’s certainly possible to say, “Other branches were pruned so that I could be grafted in!” Well and good. But they were pruned because they were deadwood, no longer connected by belief and commitment to the root. The only reason you’re on the tree is because your graft “took” when you believed, and because you’re connected to that belief-nurturing root. So don’t get cocky and strut your branch. Be humbly mindful of the root that keeps you lithe and green.” Romans 11:19-20 MSG. That one percent exercised by so many is a vote of too little confidence in God.

Faith on the other hand is the flint, kindling and wind which ultimately fuels the flames of our belief toward sufficiently consuming all of our doubts and unbeliefs. Faith is rewarded by God with relationship. Relationship is the freeway to answered prayers, wisdom, forgiveness and patience. Relationship holds both the key to the gates and invitation of the ruler of Heaven. It begins with faith but it survives with belief. “Because you’re not yet taking God seriously,” said Jesus. “The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a poppy seed, say, you would tell this mountain, ‘Move!’ and it would move. There is nothing you wouldn’t be able to tackle.” Matthew 17:20 MSG. Jesus relied on the principles of faith and belief to guide, teach and save those in the world who would eventually listen and learn. “There is nothing you wouldn’t be able to tackle.” Those are big words from an even bigger man who now sits at the right hand of God the Father and rules over all of heaven and earth. Belief is huge and the commitment to accept the enormity of it and of God is staggering, but worth it. Believe it or not, it’s that important. Don’t just say “I believe” and expect the words to carry any weight with God. Live “I believe” every minute of your days. That’s what the man who carried the cross for each of us needs to know before the end of the story.

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