I have been learning that what I believe about God directly affects the way I live my life. In turn, the way that I live my life shows the world what I think God is like, since I claim to follow him and be a Christian – a “little Christ.” This will especially true for me since I intend to enter vocational ministry in the church and teach from God’s word. My actions may teach others more about what I believe about God than my words.
That idea struck me because of something I read for class a few weeks ago. It’s from J.I. Packer’s Knowing God, and when I read it I had to stop for a while. While talking about the majesty of God, he says,
It struck me that in some way I could “belittle” God and his reputation when I somehow thought that he wasn’t going to take care of me. I think this quote hit me hard because I had just been worrying about my financial situation this semester, and then this quote comes to mind. I’m especially struck when Packer says to “seek grace to be ashamed of yourself.” At first I was a little apprehensive about this thought, but when I thought about it more I realized how accurate it is. When I worry and become anxious, I assume that God isn’t going to take care of me – as he has promised he would. I communicate to others that I don’t think God will really “work all things for good” – or that he can’t “lead captivity captive,” he can’t work good from evil. The unbelief of his children tarnishes God’s good reputation on earth.
It’s even worse when I pray to God about things and then keep worrying about them – like I did with my financial situation. I was hit by this thought when God further convicted me after hearing Tim Keller speak on Philippians 4:4-12, where Paul says to “be anxious about nothing” but in everything “pray with thanksgiving” and God will give you his peace. When I pray about something and then start worrying afterwards I am saying that I don’t think God can handle it. I belittle God with my beliefs and actions.
Do I really buy that God won’t forget about me? He’s always been faithful in the past – why don’t I think he will now? Do I really believe that he’ll take care of me and do what is best for me?
Sometimes I have to answer:
“I believe… help my unbelief!”