What do you believe?

A good first start in discipleship is pretty simple: what do you believe?  It’s one thing to make an emotional commitment to God at church and decide that you trust Jesus with your eternal life, but what does that really mean to you? What does any of the “Christianese” you hear mean to you?  How do you know if you are “born again,” or come “under the blood,” or what you were even saved FROM, exactly?  What differentiates what you believe from false faiths, such as Mormonism or Jehovah’s Witnesses?  What discussions in the Christian faith are essentials, and which ones are peripherals?  What are we absolutely positive about, and what falls in the grey areas which we are to debate vigorously, but never divide over?  Moreover, what does God say about what we should or should not know, and how we are to handle the grey areas?

The answers to those questions lie in knowing what you believe.  It is impossible to fully internalize your faith, grow in your walk, and share/defend your faith with others if you do not even know WHAT you believe. Likewise, if we are not careful in our discernment of what is essential, we may end up dividing with the brethren over things that are not essential, or failing to differentiate and defend essentials to someone falling into an aberrant faith.

While it may be in vogue to be unsure of what you believe (Brian McLaren and other emergents would definitely maybe agree that you probably shouldn’t be too sure), I would question the wisdom behind that.  While it is, in fact true, that we cannot know many of the intimate mysteries of our God and King, it is also true that there are things we can reasonably be sure of that have been laid before us in scripture.  Therefore, as Christians, it should be our DUTY to ply through the scriptures that have been given to us by God and make sure that we separate the knowable from the unknowable, commit the knowable to mind, and share/formulate opinions on the peripherals that can be shared in loving discussion with fellow brothers.  One of the verses that I heard over and over in my years working at CRI was 1 Peter 3:14-15:

But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect
(1 Peter 3:14-15 ESV)

We are called to be able to defend the reason for the hope within us.  If you want to grow in faith with God and grow closer to Him, you absolutely CANNOT do so without opening the Bible, studying the Word, and knowing what you believe.

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