“I Believe. Help my unbelief.”
by David Michael Cray
It is not your task to believe. Rather, it will be your pleasure. But first is the choice: the stepping back across the line of sin and offense. Almost like time reversing and every action being painted into something new. A coat of glory on the skin tone. Wings painted on to our stained soul’s ugliness. A few lines here and there until all we see eventually is the glory of God’s higher purpose for everything that happened. The deeper reasons for a wrinkle on our face smoothed out with the make-up of Jesus’ blood, shed on the cross. A strange thing to use to make a thing be seen in a different and better way. But could we follow a Jesus that was less than willing as He? Could we know His love even after salvation without the life He lived being told to us? Could we ever put our trust in Him, let alone later actually feel trusting of Him? It is one thing to follow because of a mustard seed, but to truly be sure is another thing altogether.
“Simply choose to follow His Guidance and ask for His Help!”
It is not your task to trust Him, but rather to simply choose to follow His guidance and ask for His help: to put your trust in Him. Trusting is truly bigger than we can accomplish on our own. It is not even your task to follow from a selfless motivation. Selfish reasons will suffice at first and in the long run, there are plenty of them. Avoiding the consequence of sin for our self is understandable and even intellectually sound, even if punishment is merely a possible risk. The risk of hell is too big to be worth avoiding receiving a free gift, plus there are the other consequences of relationships ruined that we risk as well. That gift of salvation will not just save each of us that receives it, but will likely make us drastically better people inside and out in our understanding, our actions, and even our interior actions. Thoughts count too. Love is a verb.
“Love is a verb.”
Follow selfishly, but completely and God will change the selfish part in you to selfless. Come as you are though. The change happens not from rules and regulations, but from a relationship, not from words in a book but from finding out how the meaning of those words represent God and speak of how He relates to us. We can not prove His truth but those that choose to follow Him do experience it, in undeniable ways. I have experienced it and there is too much to say to explain it and the change it has made in me. The things it has healed. I have wounds still, but they are different kinds of wounds. I may still get problems or persecution, but they are not signs of my weakness as much anymore. They are instead reasons to believe I am strong in Christ. They have become badges of honor if they remain and signs of God’s grace if they are removed. I may even have as many problems or more than before at times, but they are no longer in relation to my fellowship with God and His church. This is not because of me or how perfectly I act or feel: my initial instinctual judgment or interpretation of what I see and who I meet have not changed that drastically. But my awareness of those things being feelings that I don’t have to embrace, believe, or follow is much keener than it used to be. The knowledge that God loves me is often in spite of the silly assumptions my body or mind makes: feelings that pretty=good and nice, or that ugly is related to a flaw about someone else (when often it could be about a reaction to me or someone else or just a feeling or belief about an unpleasant hamburger they just ate. Ha! Ha!)
Putting my trust in Jesus has not made me perfect in what I do (at least not to the level I would hope for). I still don’t exude pure light. Some might not even notice it that much for all I know. But it has drastically helped me to improve and more importantly has shown me that I am worthy of love even when I can’t figure out how to improve. I did not completely believe in Jesus when I chose to follow Him at first. There are even still times when I’m about 10% believing and 90% feeling that there is little chance life could work this way if the Bible were true. But, those are just feelings and I always 100% believe that it would be a good truth if it was true and that for God to make that truth make so many good things happen in my life related to my salvation is a good sign that whatever made this universe thinks that it is a good truth too. I don’t know if this post will help, but I thought about the whole doubt thing and how it is misunderstood a lot. Even the language of believing vs. following is confused as the word for “believe” in the original text of the Bible doesn’t have a perfect translatable word that fully encompasses its meaning in English. It makes it seem like if you don’t feel faith then you are not faithful, which is a lie.
“It makes it seem like if you don’t feel faith then you are not faithful, which is a lie.”
The Bible says we are all given a measure of faith. In Mark 9:24 a Roman centurion asked Jesus to help him with his unbelief and Jesus answered his prayer to heal someone even though he had unbelief. I think everyone has a bit of unbelief too, as God is infinite so the potential for growth is as well. One thing I will say about faith is that with enough of it you can have almost any type of problem and still feel like you are blessed, and without it, you can have almost no actual problems and still feel miserable because of imagined ones. As irrational as this seems, it is rare that you meet someone that truly believes it would be irrational for them to be blessed. Faith can be a little like a catch-all blessing. Even if all else fails faith can work still, and if everything is working well faith can make it better. I can see why someone would say they admire people’s faith, but I also admire someone being able to admit their doubts. It is the only way to get to more real faith.
“One thing I will say about faith is that with enough of it you can have almost any type of problem and still feel like you are blessed, and without it, you can have almost no actual problems and still feel miserable because of imagined ones.”
I think some people follow God and they don’t even know that is what they are following, as His Law is “written on everyone’s hearts”. I think that is why we don’t usually think our life is over and that we are doomed when we have sinned. Our heart tells us that there was a solution to that and that a loving God would make a way for us to be blessed. We don’t understand how yet, but we feel it. We have a soul, but we tend to think in relation to our spirit. We are aware of our spirit’s goodness even when we make mistakes and know we should still be loved. But to manifest that love we have to think in relation to our soul, not just our spirit. We often feel God in our own love for ourselves and for others, far more than we do in anyone else’s love for us. It is the same love that is in many others for us, we are just separated from awareness of its realization sometimes.
“God is love.”
Sometimes it is easier for me to forget that God is embodying the Bible’s principles and just remember to keep it simple. God is love. The Bible is just a way God uses people to try to put Him into words. It helps once you are keeping the “God is Love” part in mind with every sentence you read. Otherwise, it is like trying to read a contract you think you might need to sign and are afraid you are about to sign millions of dollars away, knowing if you don’t sign it you get nothing! Not a great feeling to have. Not a problem when there are better contracts, but when there are none or you don’t know if there are any? It’s pretty scary. So I think people think it is dangerous or something because they think it will discount some future opportunity they think they will enjoy more (especially related to what the Bible calls sin as it says we love our sin which is why we turn away from Him). Statistically, those things don’t bring more pleasure than they do problems long term, so even without the afterlife, it might be a better way. But, I still think this misses the essential basic point God is making, that He wants us to know we are loved by Him.
One thing I like about the Roman Catholic Catechism is that the #1 statement in it says that the purpose of life is to come to know God. I used to hate this because I thought, “How?” with this many problems? Now I realize that I am coming to realize the concept of God even if I am not seeing the manifestation outwardly. I am seeing how He is working more instead of just how He isn’t. Actually, there are things that I’ve found that would be impossible concepts and events to be happening if He didn’t exist. In fact, it happens so much so that my confidence in Him starts to even manifest certain things outwardly. It is a little like the concept often thought of as the law of attraction. When we believe we will see, instead of when we see we will believe. I think this principle may be a little more complicated than just getting what you believe for, but the Bible does tell us to believe we have received what we pray for and it will begin to manifest. It may take a long time and many tries to fully manifest, but the wheels of the universe and God’s angels starting turning when we believe. Then although it may be ten thousand tries later, we have a light bulb moment that changes everything just like Thomas Edison had to manifest an actual light bulb.
“God’s Law is Written on our Hearts.”
I see now that it is the ability to discern what the Scriptures teach me that is very valuable in avoiding problems and deception. The change in this was like a light bulb coming on at my moment of justification by accepting Jesus into my heart. It is encouraging that the purpose set out by God was not for us to act perfectly or something practically impossible (to be pure light or something). If God’s law or covenant is “written on our hearts” as the Bible says, then how we would love if we did it right is how God would love and through us, it would manifest the worldly darkness folding up into nothing. We might not get the details too clearly at first of how to do this, but seeking God is a way to know His love and our purpose in life and to have a lot of direction in how to love and how to interpret what the Bible says. This gets us from bad interpretations of things to more loving interpretations that eventually make more sense overall.
Even though I wrote these words because I care about everyone, I am always aware that the heart often speaks better without words than it does with them. Someone who loves others is likely to understand the Bible’s point better than many who read it all the time, but they read it without love. A Chinese proverb says, “To a wise man, reading a sacred text is like digging a well when there is clean water everywhere.” This is true. The trick is discerning what is the water that is drinkable, and then drinking enough of that water to not just survive, but thrive. Drink Jesus’ living water and his blessings will flow through you and to you forever.
David Michael Cray
Christian/Devoted Husband/Classical Guitarist/Author/Sound Engineer/Multi-instrumentalist/Dog Lover/Crayfish Enthusiast
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