Your behaviors reveal what you believe about God.
What do you believe about God? How can we know what we believe about God? The Bible teaches that our behaviors reveal our hearts. So what do your behaviors say you believe about God? In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus taught His disciples how to discern the difference between the real prophet of God and those who are deceivers.
Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.Matthew 7:15–20 NLT
Jesus teaches that behaviors reveal the soul as easily as a tree is known by its fruit.
Based on my behavior, what do I believe about God?
To obtain a clearer picture of how you view God, ask yourself this question: Based on my behavior, what do I believe about God? For example, “Based on my overindulgence with food, alcohol, drugs, etc., what do I believe about God?” Answer: “I believe I cannot be complete in Christ.” “So what do I believe about myself?” “I believe I can be complete through my own efforts.” Try another one: “Based on my behavior of only praying when there is a crisis, what do I believe about God?” Answer: “I believe He is only helpful in a crisis.” “What do I believe about myself?” “I believe I can handle life on my own, except for a crisis.”
Behavior is a direct descendent of belief that reveals the condition of the soul. Mark adds to Matthew’s narrative by emphasizing the reason the behavior can reveal the heart—the heart establishes the behavior.
Do you have a distorted view of God?
How do you view God? If asked, “Do you have a distorted view of God?” most likely you would promptly respond, “No, I do not have a distorted view of God. I love the Lord. I know He loves me. I trust Him. And I do not know what I would do without Him.” But if you were asked, “Have you worried this week?” More than likely you would have to confess, “Yes, I have.”
What does your worry say you believe about God? The answer may consist of responses such as “I don’t believe God will take care of me”; “God does not have my best interests in mind”; “I do not trust that God will do things my way.” Responses such as these indicate you have distorted views of God that shape your understanding of how God will interact with you. As we live within our distorted views of God, our hearts are molded according to the likeness of our distortions, motivating us to live independently of God.
What’s on the inside shows on the outside.
And then he added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”Mark 7:20–23 NLT
You may be traumatized to realize that you have been deceived even as Eve and Adam were. Satan continues his cunning ploys because they have been successful through the ages. And so we still fall for the lie that we can live independently of God while disregarding the fact that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1 NLT). God created all that is. He has the best ideas on how all things work together. Why should we believe we could come up with a better idea than God about how anything should operate?
- Based on your behavior, what do you believe about God?
- Then consider, based on your behavior, what do you believe about yourself?
- Next, based on your behavior, what do you believe about others?
- Finally, based on your behavior, what do you believe about your reason for living?
Excerpts from Desperate Dependency by J. Kirk & Melanie D. Lewis.
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