Everyone is always asking everyone else what they’re doing, right?
But do you often hear people asking other people what they’re believing?
The second is actually a much more important question!
In the past number of years, on my grace journey, I’ve been learning how important what I believe is.
I’ve learned that what I believe affects my thoughts, my thoughts affect my emotions and my emotions affect my actions.
So I’d like to ask you a question. What do you believe…about God…about yourself…about others…about your circumstances….about life’s trials… and about life’s victories?
Some people call it renewing the mind and that is definitely what I’m talking about. I also like to use the phrase right believing.
Jesus talked about it with His disciples:
John 6:28-29 (AMP)
28 They then said, What are we to do, that we may [habitually] be working the works of God? [What are we to do to carry out what God requires?]
29 Jesus replied, This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He has sent [that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger].
Let me tell you a true story. Earlier this week I was planning to grocery shop. I had just pulled into a parking place at the grocery store and I got a spot right up front. I was excited. This particular grocery store is always so busy that I have never gotten a parking place right up front before.
About 30 seconds after I parked, a man started banging on my window and he didn’t look very happy. I thought, “Hmmm, should I roll down this window or not?” I decided to roll it down just enough to hear what he had to say. When I did, he said, in a very stern tone and with a very angry look on his face, “I was sitting there waiting for this parking space that you just took.”
I’m going to tell you my reaction, but more importantly, after that, I’m going to tell you why I believe my reaction was the way it was.
I replied to the man, “Oh my gosh, I am so sorry. I did not know that you were waiting for this spot. I thought you were waiting for someone inside to come out because you were picking them up. I will back out right away so you can have this spot.”
Then, thank God I looked in my rear-view mirror before backing up because this guy had purposely pulled his car right behind mine, up real close to my fender to keep me from just backing out when he banged on my window. He did not want me to have the option of ignoring him and backing out. He was apparently determined to tell me what I had done wrong. In fact, I could tell by the tone he was speaking to me in, that he thought I had stolen his parking place on purpose, but that wasn’t the case at all.
I can honestly say that when I pulled out of the parking spot I felt sorry for him. My first thought was. ” For this man to be that mad over a parking place he must have been mistreated at some point in his past and is still harboring resentment about whatever happened to him.”
I know this sounds weird, but I was actually glad this happened so I could pray for this guy for God to help him. I did pray right then for him to receive emotional healing from the wounds of his past and I prayed for his salvation.
I was not shook up by what he did to me, but I think this gentleman was shook up by my loving reaction toward him. You could tell, after I responded to him in a calm manner, with love, he was at a loss for words.
Always remember that if you respond to others in love, they won’t have any defense to come back at you with. You might ask, “Well, I wish I could respond in love, but how can I do that?” Thank you for asking! I’m excited to share with you in this blog post the things I learned during the few hours following the parking space incident. I believe it will encourage you.
You see, I know how the pre-grace revelation Sandra would have reacted to that man. First of all, it would have really bothered me that he thought I was in the wrong so I would have tried to defend myself to the hilt. Then, I can assure you that I would have said something to him in some sort of corrective manner, attempting to teach him a lesson and change him. I was very self-righteous for most of my life, up until age 42, so I constantly compared my pharisaical self with everyone else and was always trying to set people straight.
After this incident, I pondered why the new post-grace revelation Sandra was able to react so differently now because I noticed it was very natural. I could tell it came straight out of my heart and was not a reaction I had to try to sit on my flesh to work up.
As I was praying about the situation and contemplating it, I asked God how He wanted me to put this into words for a blog post, I believe He showed me something very powerful. He showed me that because I had been spending the rest of my day, up until that point, believing the right things and letting those beliefs roll over and over again in my heart and in my mind, my reaction to that man came right out of what was going on inside of me… directly out of what I was spending my time believing.
I have put much thought, study and effort into compiling a list for you (shown below) that I feel are the foundational beliefs that Steve and I spend the majority of our time believing. I’m sure there are many more foundational beliefs that I may not have listed here so this is not a exhaustive list by any means, but these are the things that Steve and I came up with that we feel we go back to on a regular basis – a daily basis.
These are the beliefs that have transformed our thinking and our lives over the last couple of years.
We believe that Jesus came to earth, lived like we live, was despised for us, was forsaken for us, was rejected for us, carried our pains and sorrows, carried our griefs and sicknesses, was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our guilt and iniquities, took the chastisement needful to obtain our peace and well-being, endured 39 grueling lashes for our healing, took the full punishment for all of our sins, paid the ultimate price by dying on the cross for us, was then raised from the dead on the 3rd day by God and is right now seated at the right hand of His Father in Heaven. We believe that those who believe this and accept Jesus as their Savior will live forever with God in heaven!
Isaiah 53;John 3:16
We believe we have complete forgiveness for all of our sins – past, present and future sins – because of the blood that Jesus shed for us
Hebrews 10:10;Hebrews 10:12;Hebrews 10:14;Matthew 26:28;John 1:29
Jesus literally provided everything you and I need. It is finished. All we have to do is believe in Jesus and His finished work and continually receive what He died to provide for us. This is such good news!
This list of right beliefs you just read… when you truly believe them, they will produce right thoughts, right emotions and right actions in you that come out when you need them the most – like when a complete stranger bangs on your window and accuses you of doing something you didn’t do.
Here are some of the freedoms that Steve and I thought of from our own lives that we are now able to enjoy that have all come out of this list of foundational ‘right beliefs’ we just talked about. As you take the time to renew your mind and become grounded in right believing, you will find that these things you are about to read will also be true for you!
- We realize that we no longer have anything to prove. This helps us to live in a relaxed state, both physically and mentally
- We now understand that accomplishing more does not mean we are worth more and accomplishing less does not mean we are worth less. Our value is in who we are in Christ.
- We know we don’t have to spend one more moment of our life feeling guilty… about anything… because Jesus took all of our guilt upon Himself
- We’re no longer afraid of what people think about us
- We now understand that God’s gonna take care of us
- We know that we know that God will never leave us or forsake us
- We’ve lost our desire to judge other people now because we’re so blown away by God’s great grace that’s been extended to us that we want to extend it to others
- We see the Bible as God’s love letter to us instead of a rule book that lists all these things we need to do to be better people
- We feel God is way more interested in relationship with us than in our behavior and we have found one takes care of the other
- We now understand that the Holy Spirit directs us, from the inside out, in the way we behave and the words we speak
Ok, back to the parking space incident. With my new right belief system in place, I can now tell you what happened since God helped me to understand it so I could then explain it to others!
First of all, when that guy banged on my window I did not get scared. I believe this lack of fear in a situation where most people would feel fear came straight out of the right belief I meditate on that God is always and only good and that belief has produced in me a real solid trust in His protection over me.
When the guy was speaking to me in a harsh, disrespectful tone, it did not make me feel mad, or stupid or like I wanted to lash back at him. Instead of these things coming up in me, my right belief that God loves me unconditionally made me unshakable in this circumstance (meaning the guy’s actions couldn’t shake me).
My right belief that I am secure in my new identity in Christ also contributed to my loving, calm response to the man. This all happened within a few minutes, but I remember these thoughts going through my mind, “Sandra, you don’t have anything to prove. You’re secure. Your loved. Your protected. With God’s grace you can just go right ahead and love this hurting person.
Another thing that I felt God taught me during the hours following this incident is that I had no desire to correct that guy in any way because I now have a revelation in my own life that only God can change a person. I have seen God change more in my own life over the past couple of years, by His grace, than I ever saw over countless years by my own self-efforts.
As a result of my own personal experience, I knew that me trying to teach that guy a lesson by correcting him in some way would merely be me trying to change him from the outside in and I now understand that it’s impossible to change someone this way. I knew it would not do one bit of good, but instead, would have ruined my witness for Christ.
On the other hand, I knew that responding in love, having compassion on the poor guy and praying for him would do a whole lot of good! I believe I knew this only because I have seen it work so clearly in my own life, my husband’s life and in my kids’ lives.
Someone reading this may be thinking right now, “Hmmm, maybe I better re-think my efforts in trying to change that person I’ve been working on.” I’m just saying from personal experience – good idea!
Guess what? About a half hour later I passed by the window banging guy in the grocery store and smiled at him and he smiled back! Praise God!
As a result of these right beliefs that are constantly rolling around in my heart and mind, I am now filled with godly thoughts, emotions and actions and it actually felt effortless to respond to that man in the loving way that I did because it’s the Holy Spirit Who has done this work on the inside of me and literally changed me from the inside out.
Of course, in the process, I have had to make the choice day after day to believe in Jesus – cleave to, trust in, rely on and have faith in Him. (just like he told His disciples to do in John 6:29) I have had to make the choice, day after day, to receive the grace of God to help me choose right believing and turn away from wrong believing.
Does this mean I do it all perfectly. No way! The very next day after the parking lot incident, I chose wrong believing when my face broke out with really bad cystic acne. I was sad and I was mad. This was about the 3rd place that my face had broken out with this type of acne in the past week. The first two times I didn’t let it get me upset, but the third time was a different story. I had a hard day all day long.
I allowed my normal right beliefs to be replaced with the wrong belief of “This is never gonna change. I have had acne all my life and I keep hoping and believing it’s going to clear up, but it hasn’t done me any good.”
So, as you can see, I lost trust in God for a period of time.
From my wrong belief came wrong thoughts such as, I am so ugly and I don’t want anyone to look at me until my face clears up.
As a result of these wrong thoughts…and wrong words (while crabbing, I also chose to speak some of these things out loud), my emotions went haywire and about 15 minutes into my CrossFit workout, which I totally had to talk myself into going to in the first place, I was having a really hard time doing my box jumps. My legs felt like they weighed 1,000 pounds. I was tripping just trying to jump on the smallest box and normally I can do one twice that size. I lost it and yelled out. “I’m not doing this anymore. I’m leaving.” Well, that got everyone’s attention, which I certainly didn’t want. Remember, I didn’t want anyone looking at my face for at least another couple of days. Oops!
Everyone at CrossFit was very nice though and tried to get me to stay because they understand how CrossFit can be so mentally grueling, and that’s on a good day. Despite their encouragement I did decide to leave because I knew I was at my breaking point and it really would not have been pretty for a 44 year old woman to have a total melt down in front of 12 other adults. Thankfully the coach understood that we are all human and all have bad days.
But, as you can see by my second story here, my wrong beliefs led to wrong thoughts that led to wrong emotions that led to wrong actions. It all came from what I was believing, which again, was that I really couldn’t trust God to take care of me in this area of my skin clearing up and being acne free. I had lost sight of God’s love for me and lost sight of His goodness toward me.
Thankfully, it wasn’t all that long before I changed my mind and decided to start trusting God again. This is repentance, by the way – changing your mind. You used to think that way, now you turn around and think this way.
In this last story I told, I spent most of one day thinking, “I can’t really trust God in this area.” Then I decided to see the goodness of God again and start thinking, “I CAN trust God in this area, just as I can trust Him in every area of my life!” (See Romans 2:4).
The truth is – and I can say this now that my believing is straightened out – I bet I am on my way to a real clear complexion. In fact, my face is already clearing up really well, and it’s only been two days! I have my hope back and I’m not just saying this because I’m writing this blog post, but I really do feel my complexion is going to get more and more clear from here on out. In fact, I believe I will soon be enjoying the clearest complexion I have ever had in my entire life!
Ahhh, you see there, we have so much more joy in our lives when we choose right believing!
So let me remind you once again that as a Christian:
God loves you unconditionally, God loves to be good to you, you are forgiven of all of your sins, you have right standing with God in Christ Jesus, you are a brand new person in Christ and you can rest in your true identity because you are completely secure in Him!
Update! Update! – As I came back across and re-read this post 3.5 years after it was originally published, I just had to share with you that my complexion causes me zero anxiety now. Honestly, it stays cleared up most of the time now, but even if it breaks out, I’m telling you the truth when I say I do not even give it a second thought. I know that I know this is a result of all the years that these right beliefs, based on God’s Word, have been more and more established in my heart. Thank You Jesus!
God is no respecter of persons. What He does for one, He will do for anyone!
If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!