That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced the he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. 2 Timothy 1:12 (NIV)
Do you know what you believe? Take some time today, if youâ€™ve never done this, and write down 3-4 points that you know you believe. What beliefs can stand through all of your life experiences? When â€˜stuffâ€™ is difficult in your life, when you canâ€™t see what God is doing and/or why He might be allowing it to happen, what can you still believe without exceptions or qualifiers?
When I was a child, I believed what my mother and father told me. I relied on them to feed me, clothe me, and keep me from falling. I didnâ€™t question (not until I was 6 or so!) because I thought my parents were SO SMART and knew EVERYTHING! I donâ€™t even remember what the incident was but sometime around 6 I realized that my parents didnâ€™t know everything! What a shock! Then as I grew and became â€˜olderâ€™ and somewhere around 12 â€“ I thought I knew everything! My parents were â€˜out of itâ€™ and I kept this know-it-all attitude until I went to college and was out on my own â€“ and got my reality check of how little â€“ very little â€“ I actually knew! Then at the young age of 40, I â€˜hooked upâ€™ with Jesus and the more I know about my LORD, the weaker I feel in myself, the more questions I have, and the more I rely on Him!
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: â€œI will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.â€
Paul, arguably one of the greatest minds of his time, states early in his ministry that the basic premise of the cross â€“ the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ â€“ is foolishness to those who are trying to â€˜figure it outâ€™ or â€˜make senseâ€™ of the concept â€“ and so are DYING. When you take that tiny baby step of faith and believe that Jesus is God in the flesh and came to make the perfect sacrifice for sin, you KNOW it is God. There is no wisdom and intelligence about it. It is faith.
And then, toward the end of his life, as he sees the end coming, Paul is speaking to his student, Timothy, and like Jesus did with the disciples just before He died, Paul is trying to cram the important â€˜stuffâ€™ into Timothy. Paul is continuing to remind Timothy that this faith, this Christianity, being a disciple of Christ, is still seen as foolishness â€“ but Paul is not ashamed of what he believes and professes. Paul has given himself totally to Jesus and knows that Jesus will finish what He has startedâ€¦no matter how it looks to anyone else.
Do you know what you believe? Do you trust God to finish what He has begun in you? Do you trust Him enough to keep going in your relationship with Him? Trust Him enough to be obedient even when you canâ€™t understand or know the â€˜whyâ€™ of it? Are you ashamed when others may think you are foolish in your love and obedience?
It is in spending time every day with a person that you get to know the person and a relationship grows. And so it is with God. I must spend time with Him, sweet conversation that involves speaking my heart and listening with my mind and spirit. I learn what I believe. I am no longer â€œâ€¦tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful schemingâ€¦â€ (Ephesians 4:14 NIV).
Do you know what you believe? Henry and I have prayerfully begun writing on some new books about â€˜basicâ€™ Christianity and discussion about Christian principles. I ask for your prayers that we would write down what God would want to say to us; that we would hunger for more knowledge of God and a closer Spirit-relationship with Him.