As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. A fundamental spiritual truth is that what we believe about God determines how we live and the choices we make. Recently someone I know told me that they were struggling to find peace and happiness. As I probed, they shared that they were disappointed because they had been praying to God for some things and He had not answered their prayers. My response was that they were facing a crisis of belief as a result. This was the source of their unhappiness. Basically, they had to decide what they believed about God. Is He sovereign and in control? Is He wiser than us and loving and always working a perfect plan in the lives of His people? Or not?
What I believe about God determines how I live. If I don’t believe He exists, then I will live like it all depends on me and I will see others as either road blocks to my happiness or a means to it. The focus of my life will be completely on me and doing everything I can to make myself happy.
If I believe that God exists but am not sure if He is in control, then things will be left up to chance. This will lead to undue stress and anxiety because chance is not loving and doesn’t have my best interests in mind. It can also lead to fatalism and cynicism. There is no happiness or contentment to be found in this world.
If I believe that God exists but am not sure if He is loving or all wise, it will lead to anger and hopelessness. A bad god is not on my side and doesn’t care about me. Again, it is all up to me and if I am going to be happy, I have to find it for myself. Bitterness is at the end that journey when a person realizes they have looked everywhere and contentment cannot be found.
Through His word, God is trying to show us that banking on what is true about Him is the only way to true peace and contentment. God is telling us this in many different ways in both the Old and New Testaments. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the Life”. Paul tells us that there is a peace that surpasses all understanding the comes from trusting God. In the Old Testament there are some many stories that teach us this truth. What we believe about God, determines how we live and the choices we make and ultimately our happiness. Take the story of Joseph for example. While enduring many very difficult circumstances because
of his brother’s betraying him, he continued to believe in the sovereignty of God and in His wisdom and love. He summed it up at the end by saying to his brothers “you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good”. If he had not believed the truth about God, his life would have no doubt ended up differently. He faced a crisis of belief. Trust in God, no matter what, or not.