What you believe will change everything.
Having spent the better part of a month watching the Euro Cup, I see this time and again match after match.
If a team believes they can do it, they will win the game, regardless of how much more reputed or spirited their opponent is or if they have to come back from a goal down. If a player is confident he can hit the target, his shot will be more sure and more likely be accurate. Yes, football is very much a mental game.
In fact, it is the same off the pitch. Motivational speakers and life coaches will all agree on and emphasise the importance of belief, of thinking positively and being confident that one can succeed, and one will. Just like in football, the belief determines the outcome.
And this is just talking about believing right at man-level, concerning human abilities. Imagine what kind of results we would get if we believed right about God.
God is greater than man – there’s no denying that. If believing positively about ourselves can bring about some measure of success, then believing positively about God would surely bring success and good outcomes that are far greater.
What must we believe about God that is so important? That He is real, He is able, He is willing, He is holy and just, He is loving and kind, He is faithful, that He heals and prospers us…the list goes on.
But God has made it simple for us, as He always does. The single most important belief about God that we absolutely must hold on to is this: He is a good God.
But wait – don’t we need to first believe that God is real? How can we believe in a good God if we don’t even think that God exists?
Actually, it’s not hard to believe that God exists. In fact, deep down inside all of us inherently believe that God exists, regardless of how vehemently we might argue otherwise under normal circumstances.
Because the moment we face imminent peril or great fear or disappointment, our eyes instinctively go skyward and we silently plead with or rage at the higher being who we know is there. Even the most resolute atheist becomes a believer in God when bullets are whizzing past him in a war zone or when his child is fighting for her life.
Still God reminds us over and over throughout the Bible: Praise the Lord, for He is good, and His mercies endure forever. God Himself assures us: He is a good God, and His grace and mercy is unending.
It is a reminder we need every hour because so many things in the world and in our own lives threaten to suggest otherwise.
Babies are born homeless or infected with deadly diseases; children are made to work for next to nothing or trafficked into prostitution. Global poverty continues to climb, natural disasters strike with increasing frequency, and the war against terror wages on.
Things go awry in our own lives. We meet with challenges, at work, at home, in our finances, our marriages, and even in our bodies. Long-time prayers remain unanswered for years.
The devil’s chief tactic is to distract us with bad situations and undesirable things happening around us and to us so we begin to question God’s goodness. As an added measure, he even hoodwinks Christians into mixing up what’s bad and what’s good. Well, it’s simple, really: whatever brings tears and fears is bad, whatever brings joy and rest is good.
The devil does this to put distance between God and us. When we are confused, uncertain or unsure of God being a good God, we’ll not be likely to approach Him, or to believe in His promises to us. We’ll end up believing in a mixed message, of judgement and of blessings, and more likely interpret what God says in His Word out of context.
The greatest damage we can inflict on the devil and the biggest favour we can do for ourselves and our families is to believe that God is a good God, as He says He is.
Because if we can just believe this, it will change everything.
When we believe that God is a good God, we will be quick to believe that He loves us, He is for us and not against us, and that He will answer our prayers and fight our battles for us.
When we believe that God is a good God, we will be sure that He will be true to His promises and will never let us down, and will be empathetic to hear every one of our worries, complaints, and rants.
When we believe that God is a good God, we will not doubt that He is more than willing to heal us when we are sick, nor ever entertain the thought that disease, danger, or death is from God.
When we believe in a good God, we will know with certainty that He will watch over us and provide for all our needs.
When we believe in a good God, we will be confident that He is out to protect us and keep us from all evil and harm.
When we believe in a good God, we will rest assured that He will surely work all things – good or bad – for our good.
We cannot let what’s happening around us or to us distract and deceive us to believe that God might not be as good as He says He is. It’s the belief that will determine the outcome.
When we believe that God is good, even His identity becomes clear. No other divine being or deity lays claim to having sacrificed themselves for us. Only One did.
His name is Jesus. Sent of the Father, anointed of the Spirit.
God is so good, in fact, that He is even unfairly good to us. Though we deserved nothing, He gave us everything, in giving us Jesus.
He who deserved everything as the Son of God, took our nothing, plus our sins, plus our punishment and judgement, plus our condemnation and our shame, so that we could have His everything – His perfect righteousness, His favour that brought Him success and fruitfulness everywhere He went, His joy that can never be suppressed, His peace that surpasses understanding, and His own Spirit that will lead and guide us to the right path without fail.
In Jesus, we have been delivered from the bondage of the law, to become sons and daughters to enjoy of His inheritance here on earth, no longer servants. As sons and daughters, we still work to serve Him, but as heirs.
It has all been set up by God on a righteous, just, and holy foundation for us. All we need to do is to receive it, with thanks.
This is not motivational talk. This is not positive thinking. This is God’s incorruptible truth.
The sum total of God’s goodness is wrapped up in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. Believing in a good God will open our eyes to everything that Jesus has done and obtained for us at the cross. And the more we see of what Jesus has done for us in the Bible, the more we will be convinced of God’s goodness.
Because when we encounter Jesus, we encounter grace.