What Do I Believe?
Do you believe in God?
Do you believe that you were created by God?
Do you believe that your life has meaning outside of yourself?
We All Believe Something
No matter what it is that you claim about spirituality, religion, or faith - we all believe in something.
You can believe that God exists, created all of us, and is the loving Fatherly Creator of the universe who deeply loves all of His creation.
You can believe that God does not possibly exist, and that human life is an accidental happening. And our lives then, are no more than our pursuit of fulfillment.
Both of these are beliefs. That God exists and that He doesn’t. Both require a level of faith, and a system of belief that shapes how one sees the world and lives in it. We will call this a worldview.
“Even a self-proclaimed Skeptic believes that any exclusive claims to a superior knowledge [or of the existence of God] cannot be true. But this objection itself is a religious belief,” (Keller, 12).
“You Do You Boo”
“We no longer find ourselves already participating in a mysterious and richly meaningful world; instead, we have the sense that the universe is indifferent, and the only meaning to be had is the meaning that we ourselves must make. The metaphysical burden is great: Find your own unique way of being human.”
We have to find our own ways of making meaning.
This is why you see people who do not follow one religious background, or spiritual identity, but find meaning in a number of ways.
You find it in nature, in personal spirituality, in your enneagram type, in your friends, in your snapchat and instagram pages, in your grades here at school.
We are all trying to make meaning, all of the time. And we make that meaning through our system of belief. A system that everyone here today, has.
Problem: This isolates us.
We do not commit to fully believing in one religious or spiritual community. We take pieces from Buddhism, Catholicism, Christianity, Islam and we put together this ‘faith’.
But instead of coming to a full, life-long and life-changing understanding we find ourselves wanting as we choose the parts we like, instead of one faith in its fullness. The good and the bad.
Believing is not choosing what you like, and cancelling what you don’t. But that is exactly what the world tells us.
Example: I think that Jesus is a good dude who did some amazing stuff, but I do not believe that He is God. I pray 5 times a day toward Mecca, praying to Allah. While I also pray to Shiva and I read the Bhagavad Gita as my holy text.
We can learn from different religious identities. In fact, we can even come to believe our faith more deeply and fully by learning from other believers. But, when we start to pick and choose beliefs and ideas because they ‘feel right’ -- we begin to become a god unto ourselves.
Read: Luke 8:1-15
The Parable of the Sower
What do you think that this parable means? What do you think that Jesus is talking about when he shares this? (Spoiler Alert: The last 5 verses he explains it!).
The Seed: The seed is the word of God.
People on the Path: Those along the path are the ones who hear about God, and the good news of Jesus in their lives.
Path, Trampled, Birds: The devil who comes to take away these beliefs, tempting them away from the truthful ideas of Jesus and His good promises.
Rocky Ground: Those who receive this good word with joy, but then have no space to continue to explore and believe to grow deep roots of faith. So that when the difficulties of life come, that they would not be uprooted and fall away.
Thorns: Those who hear, but based on life’s worries, riches and pleasures, they never mature into fully formed Christians.
Good Soil: Those who receive, believe and retain it by committing to a community of faith and growing in their life of faith in Jesus. Difficulties still come, but they are surrounded by a community of ‘good soil’ to support them, pray for them, and guide them into a life of Christian faith.
Faith Like a Mustard Seed
“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Mustard seed is so small
Tree is the heartiest, deep and wide roots. Can withstand the driest most difficult weather. Continues to grow and flourish even in the desert seasons.
So many of us think that we need to have it all figured out, we need to not have any doubts, and we need to be able to give a full hearted explanation for what we believe in order to become a Christian.
This isn’t true! All we need is faith the size of a mustard seed. Even this amount of faith is enough to grow into a deeply faithful, Christ-loving, rooted belief that can withstand even the most difficult of situations.
Faith + Salvation
Romans 10:9-10, 14
“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved… But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him?”
Sometimes we want to believe, but we are afraid of what our friends, parents, or others will say about us. We are afraid of what it will mean for us in our lives. We are afraid that we could be wrong. We are afraid that our doubts will prevent us from being welcomed into the Christian faith. We are afraid that we are too far gone to be welcomed into the Christian community, under Jesus.
We have so many fears and doubts about declaring that Jesus is your Lord, and believing that God raised His Son Jesus from the dead for your sins. So many fears about committing to a life of faith in Christ.
And yet it is the fears of this belief that prevents us from a fulfilling life, and community of faith and support!
Salvation: To be delivered or saved from our brokenness, sinfulness, and the consequences of them by having faith in Jesus Christ.
How Belief in Jesus Fulfills Our Basic Human Needs
The Need for Love, Belonging, and Self-Actualization
We want to belong to something. We want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.
When we think about belonging from a non-Christian perspective: I immediately go to Maslov’s Hierarchy of needs.
Love and belongingness needs - We have a need for friendship, intimacy, trust, and acceptance. We want to be affiliated with a group that gives us affection and love.
The Church: The early Christian church had no buildings, at least not in the sense of what we would consider church buildings today. First century Christians were often persecuted and, as a result, often met in secret usually in homes. As the influence of Christianity spread, eventually buildings dedicated to worship were established and became what we know today as churches. In this sense, then, the church consists of people not buildings. Fellowship, worship and ministry are all conducted by people, not buildings. Church structures facilitate the role of God’s people, but they do not fulfill it.
The Family of God: As believers in Jesus, we come together as the ‘church’ as a community of faith that:
“With one accord they continued to meet daily in the temple courts and to break bread from house to house, sharing their meals with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.” Acts 2:46-47
Esteem needs - (i) esteem for oneself (dignity, achievement, independence) and (ii) the desire for reputation or respect from others (e.g., status, prestige).
God fulfills these by creating our identity and meaning as made in God’s image, living lives of faith, hope, and love in our world.
Identity: Who we are as children of God.
Self-actualization needs - Realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.
A desire “to become everything one is capable of becoming”(Maslow, 1987, p. 64).
We are forgiven, we are empowered by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
We are given a life of purpose and meaning seeking personal growth founded in God’s meaning and purpose for our lives.