How "Just Believe" Fails the Believer
R. Kelly, inspired by the legendary Michael Jordan, believed he could fly. He thought about it every night and day. But you know what? Spreading his wings never actually allowed him to fly away. Belief can only take you so far and it serves as a great starting point, but belief devoid of any intentional engagement has two possible outcomes: 1)It remains a fairytale or 2) It gets utterly destroyed the moment something "better" comes along. The matter of belief gets complicated when it is combined with religious ideas. You may have heard that all you need to do is believe in Jesus to be saved and while that is true, a faith that subsists of "just believing" can easily remain a fairy tale or worse. There is more to Christianity than a belief in an idea.
There needs to be a quick note at this juncture of our discussion: There is a difference between "believing" and "beliefs." While the latter is a set doctrines and religious truths, the former is the mental, emotional, and spiritual reaction and the appropriation to the doctrines of the Bible to a person's life. The focus of this post concerns the mental, emotional, and spiritual reaction towards the redemption story that is central to the doctrine of the Bible. The idea of belief and the doctrine of Salvation often clash, but this post addresses the post-remption Christian life where a Believer must learn to closely examine the doctrines of faith and truly experience sanctification.
At the juxtaposition of believing and beliefs, many Christians find themselves skewered with the scrutiny of onlookers. For to proclaim that you "believe every word of the Bible" but make choices and hold values that stand in distinct opposition to the Word of God is simply dumbfounding - both to Christians and non-Christians alike. This surface level attachment is damaging to any Christian testimony, but there are subtle consequences that are simply more devastating.
The Consequences of "Just Believing"
If you choose to "just believe" in whatever a preacher or pastor would tell you to believe I would fear that your faith would never really become your own. This does not diminish the significance of spiritual mentors and a God-ordained clergy, but it does elevate the necessity for you to become look at your faith and its claims with a skeptical eye. When the Apostle Paul says that the word of God is profitable for doctrine, correction, and instruction in righteousness he does so in the context of an audience who were acquainted with the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:14-17). It is down right foolish to "just believe" and never deeply study the Bible.
The only "other" you should allow to dictate your spiritual is the Holy Spirit and even if you suspect that the specific profile of the Triune God is telling you to do something you are best to make sure that it lines up well with the word of God that was previously recorded. Dear saint, I want you to take an active role in your own spiritual development. Please, don't sit back and slurp the spiritual life merely because its been pre-packaged for consumption. I promise you that a direct study of the Bible and a devoted prayer life will make your Christianity more alive than any "other" source could possibly do for you.