In today’s culture, when we encounter anything unconvincing, incomprehensible, illogical, or beyond the control of man, we place it in a catchall zone called “belief.” We allocate “believing” to anything outside the natural world, from UFOs to gods.
But we also find “belief” on the other side of life, when we come to our own end. When we hit rock bottom, and all doors seem to slam shut. We then move into the paradigm of “believing” out of desperation for our own lives. Losing hope makes us consider the alternatives, when we have nothing left to look to. When there is a great burden or need, but nothing tangible to grab of, we are forced to reconsider the supernatural. When our bank accounts, credit cards, careers, clothes and cars don’t bring the answer, “belief” is suddenly back on the table.
The Oxford Dictionary defines belief as “an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially without proof.” Merriam-Webster defines belief as “conviction of the truth of some statement, or the reality of some being or phenomenon, especially when based on examination of evidence.”
So how can the same word seem to have opposite meanings from opposite ends of the spectrum? Is belief itself a contradiction? 21st-century Christianity is dominated by the Oxford Dictionary’s explanation of belief. It becomes just another hopeless and helpless leap in the dark, like all the other religions of the world, competing with Allah, Ram, Buddha and various New Age philosophies. Unfortunately, the only Christian differentiator today is that I believe in the right God, and you believe in the wrong one.
In response to the above conflicting understanding of belief, we feel the need to bring credibility to our belief by generating evidence according to what we do, and religious behavior becomes a personal affirmation, assurance and reinforcement of belief. We go to the temple, the mosque, and the church to affirm and assure, giving evidence to ourselves of our stated belief. Behavior and actions become the evidence of belief. The more we do, the more the actions affirm our belief. The more we do, the more it provides evidence of our belief, both to others and to ourselves. We do religious deeds to provide proof to others and ourselves that we have faith.
The evidence of Christianity is relegated to simple belief in Jesus and displaying Jesus-like behavior. “Believe in Jesus and behave like Jesus” is an unending cycle of hopelessness that we have come to understand, practice and preach as Christianity in the 21st-century. So we keep trying to add to and aid our unbelief with more behavior. We are asked to give more, attend more, go to missions trips more, preach more, pray more, convert more—and the list goes on—all to assure ourselves. Beyond a point, we are unable to cope with the internal pressure of trying to keep up. We are burnt out. We become hypocritical. We compromise. We fake…
So what is the evidence and proof of the faith that Jesus asks His followers to have? Is Jesus in the business of behavioral rehab? If believing in Jesus does not uniquely qualify my faith, then what is the differentiator of Jesus? If what I do and feel emotionally does not uniquely qualify my faith, then what is the differentiator that Jesus came to establish? What sets following Jesus apart from following any other religious leaders and philosophies of the world?
Something happens in us when we repent and believe in Jesus. It is this something that no other religion or philosophy or style of living can offer. This something is non-circumstantial and does not depend on locations. There is internal evidence that is produced, which becomes an inner constant in the midst of external and emotional variables. This evidence is experienced through a process called transformation of the mind. This is where we cognitively experience the supernatural in the natural and it becomes the new normal.
“New Creation” is not a belief, but a literal re-birth of a new nature within us as a consequence of belief. We become aware of the Person called Jesus, because we partake in His divine nature. The cross not only imputes righteousness but imparts righteousness. This is not an intellectual understanding of Jesus, this is not an emotional experiencing of Jesus, but a transformational becoming like Jesus. This is where the Vine and branch live in intimacy. This is where the sheep hear the Shepherd’s voice. This is where communion between God and man happens with cognitive recognition. This is where we know and experience what we have believed! This is where the Spirit testifies to our spirit that we are children of God; the identity we all long to experience with the grip and embrace of the Father inside of us. This is the “substance of what we hope for,” the “conviction/evidence of things unseen.” This is biblical faith.
Internal evidence of the invisible is the foundation of our external expression of it. If there is no internal evidence, there can be no external expression. Hebrews Hall of Famers had an internal evidence of God that got them to do what they did.
What we do becomes a consequence of who we become. We love because we become love through experiencing it ourselves. We draw from the supernatural, and it flows into the natural. We receive, so we give. Belief leads to the incredible co-habitation of God in man, with the mind of man being able to consistently draw from the spiritual, irrespective of any external situation or circumstances. It is experienced through a process called transformation of the mind. This transformational inner-awareness/perception of God is the evidence in Christianity.