If you’re from Missouri you know that your state motto is Show Me. No one is sure who coined the motto, but essentially it means unless you see it, you won’t believe it. Seeing to the reasonably minded person is believing. But Christian faith is not about seeing. Christian Faith is about believing and trusting without empirical evidence. Jesus said to the doubting St. Thomas, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? But blessed are those who do not see, and yet believe” (John 20:29).
And the writer to the Hebrews said that “… faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). So, how do you know if you believe, that you have faith? It may be as simple as ABC.
First check your affect or attitude towards God. What I am talking about is your feelings. Do you have a love for God? Can you sense God’s presence in your world and around you? Feelings are the ways that I really know that God is with me. I feel the Father; I feel Jesus; I feel the Holy Spirit in almost everything.
Now some pastors or religious leaders think that trusting your feelings is dangerous and so they often emphasize rational truth over our feelings or our affective perception. Yet, no one can prove God’s existence through rational or logical means alone. Ignatius of Loyola searched for God through intellectual and rational means for years, but it wasn’t until he had an experience, a deeply emotional encounter with God, did he become the great spiritual leader. Listen, St. Paul said that “the Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God (Romans 8:16).” Our faith is internally understood. When we feel like we are connecting with God in a deep, loving, and meaningful way, then we are believing.
So, feeling is believing.
Second, if you believe in God, check your behavior. When you decided that God was real and that you loved Him, did you adjust your behavior accordingly? Jesus said that, “The world will know you are my followers, that you are people of faith, when you act according to love.” I once heard it said that nothing testifies to the reality of God more than a transformed life. I agree. On March 28, 1996 I went from a wretched, drug addicted, young man on a life-threatening self-destructive path, to a brand new man, sober and free for the last eighteen years. I couldn’t have done that on my own.
So, doing is also believing.
Finally, over time the false person that you were becomes the real person God wants you to be. You become a person of faith, and your faith informs every aspect of your life and relationships. Your constitution or condition has changed. You feel different; you act different; because you are different. St. Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). This is all a process, but the there is no going back once your condition has changed; your beliefs have changed you forever.
So seeing is not believing, but believing is truly seeing.
© Paul Dordal, 2014