Information has never been more readily available. Everything you could ever dream of knowing about someone, someplace or somewhere is right at your fingertips instantaneously. As great as this may seem on the outside, it makes me wonder how or what affects people on the inside. Is it causing us to become solely focused on the behavior of others? Have we become easy targets for calculating marketers looking to sell us the next personal improvement product?
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test my thoughts (Psalm 139:23, TLB).
What you believe about yourself, other people and God has never been more relevant. You see, we all have this “background tape” that plays through our minds constantly. Call it what you will, but embedded in your subconscious is your belief system.
It’s the filter or lens through which you view everything. Often, most of us never take the time to even question it or think about it. Your belief system is the foundation upon which you make almost every decision. You may not realize this, but your decision making, moment by moment, is rooted in what you believe and how you perceive the world around you.
How does this link up with the information-overload society in which we live? Well, it’s simple. As we become more and more inundated with information, advertisements and choices, it becomes easier and easier to make impulse decisions that are not based on truth. Day by day, we are more concerned with other people, places and things; rarely do we take the time for our own introspection.
One thing I learned a long time ago was that I couldn’t change people. But what I could change was how I reacted and responded toward people. This took a lot of soul searching. It required brutal transparency, authenticity and honesty between me and my Creator.
Single or married, it doesn’t matter. Taking the time to ask yourself why you believe what you believe leads to one of the most eye-opening experiences you will ever have, but often we don’t take the time. We keep cycling through the same behavioral patterns and asking ourselves: What is wrong with everyone else? Asking yourself why you believe what you believe requires just asking a loving and intimate God who has created you for His good pleasure.
“For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
God’s view of you has never changed. His love for you has never wavered. When you are living in Christ, God’s only thoughts about you are that you are righteous, accepted and beloved. When your belief system is rooted in this truth your decision-making process becomes less convoluted. It becomes secure in the foundation of your position in Christ. You begin to find yourself less and less seduced by the thoughts and innuendos of others.
In the immortal words of George Costanza, “It’s not a lie if you believe it.” I love this statement because it’s so true. I can remember a time in my life where I was living on the Christian “yo-yo” as I liked to call it. I was happy and joyous one minute, sad the next; compassionate and merciful one minute, angry and impatient the next. After years of frustration living this way, the Lord began lovingly to ask me “Michael, why do you believe what you believe?”
The Holy Spirit was asking me to look deep within myself and challenge many of the wrong thoughts I had, especially about Him. He was simply showing me that my reactions and responses to people, places and things were directly correlated to how I viewed him.
My belief system was not rooted in the truth of who God said I was, “A beloved son with whom He was well pleased.” Rather, it was rooted in how my biological father treated me. That was performance-based love, which ran hot or cold depending on whether or not I was meeting my father’s needs. It was startling how much this lie formed the bedrock of my belief system. It infiltrated every relationship in my life.
Often I found myself saying yes to every and all things—seeking to gain acceptance and approval from others—only to find myself resentful and “feeling used” by everyone I was trying to please. Let me remind you: God says you are beautiful just the way you are. You are unique and special in the eyes of Jesus.
There are no words to describe how gracious and gentle the Holy Spirit is. When I made a choice to trust the very God of my salvation to dismantle my wrong beliefs and build me up in His right beliefs, everything changed.
How I viewed Him, how I viewed myself and how I viewed others became very stable. My “background tape” began to be filled with the the truth of His word and what He said about me. My identity as a son, given all the inheritance of a son, became the lens through which I saw the world. My decsions have become rooted in truth. I can truthfully say I no longer put unhealthy expectations on other people.
So wherever you are in your life, I encourage you to give yourself permission to ask the Holy Spirit why you believe what you believe. Once you open that door, He is 100 percent faithful and true to lead you into ALL TRUTH as He comforts and counsels you!