Too often, we just have cool ideas. Things we think we believe but we really don’t. We can tell when we truly believe something because the idea in our head starts changing the way we live.
We can see this in simple things. We actually believe water is good for us, so we drink it. You believe that the chair you are sitting in will hold you, so you sit there without worrying that you will crash to the ground. You believe reading this article is worthwhile or you wouldn’t be doing it (or maybe you are just wasting some time – thanks for taking time to read it either way). You believe lots of things, and those beliefs influence the way you live.
You also probably have a lot of things in your head that are just cool ideas. Those are thoughts that you might even think you believe, but if they aren’t changing the way you live, then you don’t really believe.
So when I’m talking about belief today, I’m not talking about intellectual propositions, thoughts we have, or the cool ideas in our head. I’m talking about true, genuine belief that fills us with such a passion that it influences the very way we interact with the world and one another.
The thing with beliefs is that everyone is trying to get us to believe what they believe. Sometimes the most adamant belief is that you shouldn’t influence others to believe what you believe. I find it ironic that some try to force us to believe that we shouldn’t try to influence others to believe what we believe.
The harrowing truth is that if we believe in the wrong things, those wrong beliefs will mess up our lives.
Thomas, who gets the rap of being a doubter, gives us a good example on how to handle our doubts.
“Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” John 20:24-29 (ESV).
I think Thomas should have his name changed from Doubting Thomas to Verifying Thomas. Instead of letting his doubt creep in and destroy his beliefs, he went straight to the source and verified them. If you have questions on what you should believe, you should follow Thomas’ example and go to Jesus with your doubts. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t mean that you won’t have doubts; it means that you will head to him with your doubts and allow him to give you the answers.
If we believe that Jesus rose from the dead, it will change us. It did for Thomas. Tradition has it that he died a martyr. Thomas the Apostle was killed by a spear in Mylapore, Madras, India in AD 72.
Is your belief changing you? Do you really believe?