“I’ve got joy, joy in my heart!” The familiar Christian hymn rings everywhere. For the most part, Sunday morning church faces are bright and cheerful. We sing praise, wave our arms ecstatically, and dance so enthusiastically I wonder if we are in aerobics class. We are a merry people, indeed…on Sunday morning.
But what about Monday after the alarm rings? Wednesday after lunch? During staff meeting on Tuesday? Can we experience joy during those times? Does our joy seep from Sunday to the rest of the week? How do we make our Romans 15:13 jump from the pages of Scripture to the reality of our lives so we will “overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13b)?
We often live parallel lives. Our spiritual and physical lives exist analogously and are often very different from one another. Our spiritual lives are peaceful. We feel calm and loving after our morning devotional. We trust God with everything. The worries and ambitions that entangle us during the week slowly recede and we can finally see our Savior.
Then Monday comes. Bills are due and the boss is calling, so we get in our cars and stress about who is getting promoted. We wonder what that coworker meant by that comment and we hurriedly finish that email that was supposed to be done last week. Then we get in our cars and try to conjure a dinner idea from our already frazzled brain, and we’re bothered by the hungry children staring at us wondering why the food’s not ready. That’s our physical life. Far from the peace, love, calm, and trust of our spiritual life.
I once read a book that changed my life. Believing God by Beth Moore explained that Scriptures are not our reality because we do not believe them. We say we believe, but do we really? Do we believe “in all things God works together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose”? (Romans 8:28) It’s one thing to pay lip service to Scripture; it’s entirely another to believe it while in the trenches. Today’s church is comprised of many Christian atheists who desperately want to escape their unbelief, but aren’t sure how.
I remember once being confronted about my Christian unbelief. My firstborn, honest as she was, silently observed me fretting over a dispute I had with a co-worker. After some time, she said, “Mom, why don’t you believe what the Bible says? God says to forgive, and that He will fight for you, but you never do it.” I shut my mouth, red-faced. How could I call myself a Christian if I didn’t believe what I claimed was Truth? Worse yet, how could I sell it to anyone else?
If we do not believe the Word, we’ll never have continuity between our spiritual and physical lives. However, believing the Word is more difficult than it seems. Saying we believe it is easy; actually believing it during the challenges of life is almost unnatural. Believing God’s Word means you believe:
- Your needs will always be provided (Philippians 4:19) even though you’ve recently been fired
- Nothing can separate you from the love of God (Romans 8:38) even though you just sinned really badly, repeatedly
- God knows the plans He has for you; plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11) even though your recent medical diagnosis confirmed your worst fear
The Bible will never be relevant to us if we don’t believe it. We’ll fall asleep reading it or it will become a nice thought and nothing more. We’ll struggle with spiritual boredom and our love relationship with our Father will burn out. Additionally, non-Christians won’t buy what we’re selling and the world will continue its despairing descent into humanism.
If you’re a Christian and you struggle to believe God’s Word, take heart. Faith is simple but not easy. If you desperately desire the promises of the Bible to be your reality, start with believing only one concept. Transitioning from a Christian atheist to a powerful, effective, Bible-believing believer can be overwhelming. Instead, select one Biblical truth and concentrate on believing only that. For example, focus all your energy only on believing the Biblical promises about energy. Believe that
- He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:29-31)
- [You can] Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)
In addition, a visual reminder will prompt you to believe the Scriptures. Remember, faith is not inherently natural. You have to make the choice to believe what God says. An aide used specifically for this purpose – perhaps a special nail color or a necklace – will remind you in each moment to choose faith. Once you become more empowered in this concept, move to the next.
Be careful, though. A powerful, Scripture-believing Christian is a force to be reckoned with. If you successfully transition to victorious Christian, your life will be observed on many fronts – by Christian atheists wishing to break out of their skepticism to non-Christians wondering if it’s worth all the fuss. You will become a mentor, role model, and teacher whether you want to or not. Your effectiveness will be far-reaching as God uses you to communicate His Word to a world that has never picked up a Bible.
If you are a Christian atheist wishing to seize the glorious promises of God, be encouraged. You can do it. It doesn’t take much time, just a lot of gumption as you step out on the water of faith. You may sink at first, but get into the boat and try it again. The world is watching. Let’s show them our Savior is trustworthy.