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Leading people into a maturing new life in Jesus Christ

Ask Yourself This Question

Once there were two people who said they believed in Jesus. The first usually treated others with respect, but was willing to take full responsibility when she came up short. The second told himself and others he cared about them, but when his actions were inconsistent with his claims he often treated them with contempt by lashing out or passively ignoring them.

How could two people who claimed to believe in Jesus act so differently?

There are many things we tell ourselves and others we believe, but such professions are often designed only to benefit us. A person can say, “you really look nice today,” when the deeper motive could be to get you to like them. These are called political beliefs.

Then there are personal beliefs. These are things we believe that we believe. We feel sincere when we proclaim them. For example, Peter told Jesus he would never betray him. Peter felt sincere, but he didn’t really know himself. Just a few hours later he did the very thing he sincerely believed he would never do.

Finally, there are our core beliefs. These are the values we really do believe in. Core beliefs are convictions about reality that control what we actually do. You see, it is the continuing trend of how we live that reveals what we really believe, what we actually value, what we put first in life. Peter didn’t put Jesus first. Instead, he watched out for number one. His actual belief — the belief he acted on — was that he would be better off lying about being a disciple of Jesus than to let his accusers take him captive.

So the apostle Paul advises us: “Examine yourselves to see if your faith is really genuine. Test yourselves.” (2 Cor. 13:5 NLT) The Message paraphrases the rest of this verse in this way: “You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it.”

What, then, do I do when I realize I’m not living what I claim to believe? Well, one thing I don’t do is try to change my behavior to prove to myself, to others or to God who I am. Instead, I get with Jesus and let him change my core beliefs. He promises, “Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”
(Jn. 15:5 NLT)

People who really desire to glorify God will face this truth:

What I do on a fairly regular basis reveals who controls my heart. 

Maturing followers of Jesus are given the capacity to be objective about who they are. They are not afraid to ask this question: what does the way I’m living reveal about my deepest values, priorities and beliefs? And if they conclude they want a change they go to Jesus and let him change them from the inside out.



Contributed by Pastor Larry Zuchowski

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