There’s a difference between “knowing” and “believing”… isn’t there, Lord?
“Of course there is” anyone reading that statement might say. But what really is the difference? And why is it so important to recognize that difference?
To KNOW: “To be aware of through observation, inquiry or information.”
To BELIEVE: “To accept [something] as true; to feel sure of the truth of [something].”
To ACCEPT: “To consent to receive [something].”
We can “know” (be aware of) Your Word, Lord. We can even “know” Your Word is True.
“You are righteous, Lord, all Your laws are right. The statutes You have laid down are righteous; they are fully trustworthy. … All Your words are true; all Your righteous laws are eternal.” (Psalm 119:137-138,160)
But what does it take for us to believe (accept as true) what we know? To accept (consent to receive) what we know (are aware of)?
To CONSENT: “To give permission for something to happen.”
To RECEIVE: “To take [something] into one’s possession.”
To believe something I know requires something of me. It requires my permission. An act of my will that gives me permission to take what I “know” — what I am aware of — into my possession.
Why is it so important to recognize the difference between knowing and believing, Lord? Because whatever we believe changes the course of our lives… both now and forever.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
A full, abundant life instead of a life that has been stolen or destroyed? Why would anyone want the latter, Lord, when You so freely offer the former?
How does the thief steal and kill and destroy? He does it whenever he opens his mouth… through lies and deception.
“He [the devil] was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)
So many lies. Lies like, “I’m not good enough” or “I don’t have enough” for You, God, to want me or love me or use me. Lies like “The future is hopeless because of my past.” Lies like “God could never care about me” or “God is a harsh and stern Taskmaster, eager to condemn me whenever I mess up.”
But when do the thief’s lies change the course of our lives, Lord? When he speaks them? No… when we believe them.
Martin Luther once said something very profound about temptation: “You can’t keep the birds from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building a nest in your hair.” What are lies but temptations to believe (and act on) anything other than The Truth? And what about when those lies have already built a nest in our hair, making us have one “bad hair day” after another???
I used to have long hair. I remember what it took to get a major tangle out — patiently, persistently working through the tangle, one or two hairs at a time. In extreme cases, after much effort and many tears, it took cutting out the worst of it. Being willing to live (for awhile) with the hole marking the tangle’s absence… and answer questions that were inevitable, given my “odd” appearance. All the while, trusting my hair would grow back… tangle free.
“Jesus said, ‘If you hold to My teaching, you really are My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'” (John 8:31-32)
“Jesus answered, ‘I am The Way and The Truth and The Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
“So if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.” (John 8:36)
Thank You, Lord, for bringing the lies we are believing into the open. For shining Your Light on them so we know (are aware) they are there.
“I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the Light of Life.” (John 8:12)
Thank You for Your Truth, Lord! And for the Abundant Life You have come to give each of us who will accept Your Truth — who will give ourselves permission to not just “know” Your Truth, but to possess it.
Thank You that we no longer have to be slaves to the lies, even when we have believed them for much of our lives. Because You have come, Jesus, to set us free from them. And You are able!
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Help us each do our part today, Lord… to give ourselves permission to believe You. To give You permission to help us as only You can!
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
Joyfully, gratefully, on this priceless journey with You…