June 4, 2008

  • Two Belief Systems

    I’ve been pondering the verse in Hebrews recently..

    In the KJV, “For without faith is is impossible to please God, for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

    In the Living Bible, “You can never please God without faith, without depending on Him. Anyone who wants to come to God must believe that there is a God and that He rewards those who sincerely look for Him.”

    It’s been several weeks now that I’ve been mulling over this verse… and have become increasingly aware of my lack of faith. If I can write this in the way it hit me: “He that comes to God must believe that God exists AND THAT HE IS A REWARDER OF THOSE WHO TRULY LOOK FOR HIM.”

    Sometimes, especially when I’m in a hard place, I feel like I have no other option than to believe the first part, “He that comes to God must believe that God exists.” Really, I feel like there is no other option. Of course I believe that God exists. All creation points to that. To disbelieve that is to disbelieve reality, to disbelieve truth, to turn my back on the obvious. Almost like I have to believe in God because I’m made on that default setting, it’s within every one of us, whether we like it or not.

    And in the hard times, believing that God exists isn’t very difficult. He exists all right, but sometimes I may view him more as a Deist God, or a God that exists but isn’t personal, that doesn’t truly care about all that happens to me, in me, through me.

    And, too often, I’ve found myself stuck in this first part.

    Ahhh, but there is a second part. When we come before the Lord, not only are we to believe that there IS a God, which I mentioned afore sometimes feels like it’s forced on us. But we are ALSO to believe that HE IS A REWARDER. Oh, there is so much that I’ve been thinking about with all this…

    1. We cannot come to God [in prayer, in time of need, etc.] believing only that He is a God. There is a two-fold belief system in this verse. We must believe that there is a God, and that He is a Good God.

    2. Believing in a God can make us feel like we are doing our Christian duty, doing what we were brought up to believe. Believing in a Good God makes me realize more of the God we serve than of us who serve Him.

    3. Believing in a God is relatively simple. Many people believe in “a God”. Believing in a Good God can be very difficult, especially when we find ourselves in circumstances beyond our control, or we could take control but it would be the wrong thing to do.

    4. Believing in a Good God totally changes my way of life. Not only is there a God that exists, but there is a God who cares. About me. About the things that happen to me, about the way I feel, about my disappointments, about my dreams.

    5. Believing in a Good God means that I will be rewarded for believing He is Good. For my life will be lived in expectation of His Goodness, that He will come through for me, that all things that come to me are first passed through His hands.

    6. Believing in a Good God doesn’t necessarily change my difficult circumstances, but gives me hope IN the circumstances. That there is a reason for it, that He will give me grace in it, that He will be there for me through it.

    7. Believing in a Good God makes me feel safe to go to God. That I can “pour out my heart” as did David the Psalmist, and God cares. That even if what comes out sounds silly and insignificant and I wouldn’t dream of telling anyone else, God still cares and loves that I wanted to tell Him.

    8. Believing in a Good God gives new purpose and meaning to life… for life is not just random events happening to me, but it is all a journey with Christ, walking beside Him, trusting His purposes.

    9. Believing in a God that rewards doesn’t necessarily mean I will be rewarded on earth. For in the very chapter that gives this challenging verse about believing in a God and believing in Good God, there are also verses about many people who all died in faith, not having received any of the things they were promised – in THIS life. That’s a huge point. Too often I think my rewards need to come now. And to think of dying without having received the rewards they were promised, that’s really hard for me. But if we look throughout Scripture, many of the great Giants of the Faith that we laud so highly died this way – without their reward being given to them on this earth.

    10. Believing in a Good God whose rewards are not always earthly requires an eternal perspective – living beyond right now, trusting that there is a bigger picture in all this…

    I’m reminded of something God showed me several years ago… I was going through a time of difficult decisions, of intense faith-stretching, of confusion, and wondering where my life would be headed, if I’d be willing to follow Christ on a less-glamorous path of life. Through a youth Bible Study I attended at a local church during that time, I was shown a mental picture of a wonderful master artist, a painter, completing his masterpiece up on an enormous stage. [I love the arts, so this was one way God spoke to me]. His canvas was huge, his work perfect. And I was allowed to see only a very small glimpse of his masterpiece – the very tiny corner down at the bottom left side. All I saw was brown earth. I couldn’t see anything else.

    And in that moment, I felt the Lord speaking to my heart… “Your life is like a wonderful masterpiece to me. I am the Master Artist, you are my canvas. Right now all you can see is one very small part of the picture, and it’s not very pretty. You see the hardships, the confusion, the difficult choices, the calling of a quiet faithful life vs. an adventurous one, and it looks impossible to you that this could ever be Beauty. But just trust. Just trust that there is a bigger picture, and that one day I will reveal it to you…”

    I thought that after that particular season I would be shown the Beauty, but it was not so. I still often find myself staring at that small corner of the giant canvas, wanting to be shown the rest of the picture. But there is such great hope in believing that what I see now is that all there is! That there IS more! And perhaps I must need to wait until Heaven to be shown the rest of the picture. That seems like a long time to me. But if then I shall see it, and the Master Artist shall reveal to me the hidden purposes and immense beauty that He is composing, then may He grant to my feeble heart this desire: “Lord, please help my unbelief…” May He grant me the faith to believe that He is a Good God, right here, right now.

Comments (11)

  • You really got me thinking…deep!  Wonderful, thought provoking post!

  • hmmm, me too. My heart is so identifying with your thoughts….amen!

  • Thanks for sharing that.  It was a blessing to read.  ~Dorcas

  • Clarita, thanks for taking the time to write out your thots and what the Lord has been teaching you here. I’ve been thinking much about faith lately as well, and though this is a different aspect, I love how the “Rewarder” part of God is coming alive for you. You must be pondering it a lot to write it out so clearly as you did. Thanks, and I hope you’re having a maaahhvelous time with your family!!

    PS: I felt so “Claritaish” two days ago when I was shopping for a kitchen carpet/mat and found something I really liked at a deep discount on the clearance rack. *THAT* is something I always read about happening to you, but hardly ever happens to me . . . Maybe the more I hang out with you, the more that trait will rub off on me (along with many other fine ones, of course!). =) ::hugs::

  • good stuff!  esp. the part where you could feel God ‘showing’ you what your life ’was’ at that moment! i love when God gives me a visible thing that i can grasp, see and understand.  (ok, having a very hard time putting my thoughts into words here….  you did very well w/ your thoughts on this post!) =)   have a good day! 

  • I too was blessed… things I’ve been thinking alot on as well.  For me it’s been such a deep sense of God’s goodness and just claiming the foundational truth that what God does is for my good… knowing as you said, ” that all things that come to me are first passed through his hands.” That has been huge and it’s totally given me greater perspective and my faith has been made stronger.  I think this concept you wrote about is something so foundational to every person… and until we start to believe it from our hearts and not our heads then life will just not be as “sweet”.???  (lack of better word)  You have a beautiful heart… I know God must sing over you.  He so loves our worship…. and my worship of him has grown so much as I recognize in a greater way His very personal involvement in my life.  “How can I keep from singing?”

  • I read it twice, and I might just read it again!!  You’ve got some really good thoughts lady!  Makes me want to dig in the Word more myself…seems like lately I’ve been on a slim diet and I don’t like it!  No excuses here…  It’s awesome that I serve a “good God” who knows my heart, and is way way more patient and loving then we as humans are, and even in the lean times he loves me!  Maybe He even sings over me – wooing me to closer intimacy…?   Thanks girl, you are a Jewel!!

  • I haven’t updated in months my life and my family’s  have been a nightmare but have been reading posts.   Your post was wonderful.  Thank you, God told me to turn on the computer today, and i did and found your post.  I printed it out and put it in my devotions.  Thank you again, it was a blessing.

  • hey, good to hear from you!! that’s so cool you’re playing yanni. yes, i do have “in my time” and my favorite songs in there are “before i go,” “in the mirror,” “to take … to hold,” and “felitsa.” (i love that book!!!) have an awesome day! good luck w. the wedding

  • @ShoutToTheNorth -  Thanks so much! That will sure help me out! :)

  • Hi Clarita- What a wonderful post!  Isn’t it awesome how God teaches us little by little – and can encourage others along the way!  :)   I also loved your post about going to the symphony – my heart is like yours (I had an Uncle talk me out of going to music College)- I enjoyed your reflections very much. God has His reasons – and we can’t see the big picture like you said. Take care – maybe we can see you all when you are up here this summer.  :)   Missed your family at the wedding! 

Post a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *