Where are Your Beliefs?

At this time of year, the word “Believe” is a frequently used word. We are told to “Just Believe,” but people don’t always state what to believe in. The movie “The Polar Express” is about believing. It is one of my favorite Christmas movies and I try to watch it every year. It is a “feel good” movie. I don’t agree with all it says but we can learn from it. The chorus from the song “Believe” in the movie reads:

Believe in what your heart is saying

Hear the melody that’s playing

There’s no time to waste

There’s so much to celebrate

Believe in what you feel inside

And give your dreams the wings to fly

You have everything you need

If you just believe

If you just believe

If you just believe

If you just believe

Just believe

Just believe

The problem with these lyrics, and much of the talk about believing is that it does not tell us where to place our beliefs. Our feelings can betray us. We are led to think that just believing in something is enough. It’s similar to the motivational statement “if you can dream it, you can do it.” While this may be motivational, it really doesn’t hold the truth. Our dreams, our beliefs, must be grounded in reality. Growing up, I dreamed of being a major league baseball player. I dreamed it but the harsh reality is that I lacked the ability. No amount of dreaming would make me into a professional baseball player.

True hope requires a firm, substantive foundation. Christian hope is our belief in God. It is not a wish or a dream, it is a reality. As the author of Hebrews explains, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1 KJV). Without our belief in the character of God—and our relationship with him—as our foundation, we might as well be hoping in Santa Claus, Alexa, or the latest app designed to solve our problems..

Belief is somewhat of an abstract concept. And abstractions frequently don’t make it in our flesh-and-blood world. When we have bills piling up, physical problems, relationship issues, abstractions may fall short. Maybe belief is not abstract. Maybe it’s the only foundation when everything is shaken. The Apostle Paul put it like this, “we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5 NIV). That is a foundation for belief!

Note that Paul outlines a progression from suffering to hope. When we are suffering through hard times, we take God at his Word and believe that he’s still in control, with a specific purpose in mind. So we keep going, relying on him. As we keep going, hour-to-hour, day-to-day, week-to-week, we become stronger. Our faith grows, our maturity grows, our trust in God grows. As we grow, we believe in God’s goodness, more than our circumstances. We learn to believe in God’s promises. 

The Apostles Creed is a frequently-used statement of Christian belief. I think it summarizes our belief in God. If you recite this weekly in your church or if you have never before seen it, take time now to slowly read it, to absorb the meaning and reality of these words. 

 “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit; Born of the Virgin Mary; Suffered under Pontius Pilate; Was crucified, dead and buried; He descended into Hell; The third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven; And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit; The Holy Christian Church, the Communion of Saints; The Forgiveness of sins; The Resurrection of the body; And the life everlasting. Amen.”  

Belief in God can be your firm foundation.

© Can Stock Photo / McIninch

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