The Who Not The What
When do we start believing what we are following? I see in life people (including myself) who follow the path that is paved for them, but simply following does not mean one believes it, it merely means that they are doing what they think is expected of them. There are plenty of movies about only finding meaning and fulfillment once the character abandons parental expectations and does what they were made for. So when do we start believing when we have been following and how do we know if we really believe? We can say that we believe but there are plenty of people who say they believe but live as if they do not.
We have people who look like they are following but have never acknowledged if they believe and we have those who say they believe but have never followed.
It seems as if when we are skeptical of a person’s faith we can find a myriad way to invalidate their dedication. It might be easier to say that only God sees the hearts of man so we really cannot know if someone truly believes or not. This brings up two questions: Should I question if someone believes since others probably have the same question of me? How can we encourage faith growth without making judgments about the validity of their faith?
It seems as if Jesus indicates in Luke 6:46-49 that those who obey Him are the ones who truly are following Him and believe in Him since they put trust in His words. To act upon Jesus’ words is to have a strong foundation in life but the one who knows Jesus’ word and does not follow them is easily swept away. To know and love Jesus is to obey Him. I can call out to the President but that does not mean he will know me but Jesus says that He will know us when we obey him. It is quite the opposite with the President, he might only know me if I disobey him severely enough or if I happen to obey so outstanding that I must be recognized. Jesus flips this on it’s head, knowing Him is not about being “good enough” or else we would think that we did it through our own effort but gives us the chance through no merit of our own but by His goodness. Not everyone who calls out to Jesus, “Lord, Lord” will get into Heaven because they did not truly know Him.
Having just pushed so hard on obedience, I think it is important to make a distinction between obedience and works. It is not what we do but Who told us to do the what. We can do seemingly “good” things that are sinful when they are in direct defiance to God.
The Who behind the What is everything.
When the Who is right then our what is right and our faith is right. Then we are truly followers of Jesus. When we have the Who, it does not matter if we have said we believe or if we have looked like we follow; We are right with God and that is what matters.