As a fan of American football, it has been interesting to see the infusion of European football into our version. No, I don’t mean in the way the game is actually played. I am talking about the environment around the game. That is, the unique markers of soccer events have begun to spread into our football events. Case in point is a cheer that is heard at many stadiums in the Fall…
“I. I believe. I believe that. I believe that we. I believe that we will. I believe that we will win. I believe that we will win! I believe that we will win!!” And on it goes.
It is a simple cheer, but it is an emphatic cheer. Precisely because of its simplicity. In essence, the cheer boils a sporting event experience down to its two most basic components. Component one – all that matters is winning. Component two – the fan is present because of a core belief that their team will win. That’s really sports fandom at its most basic foundation.
I give this illustration at the outset of our new series because this is the type of image that comes to our minds when we talk about belief. The image of someone or some group using the word belief about something that may not actually happen in an attempt to will it into happening. And this isn’t just present in sports. It is everywhere.
A third grader reassuring herself, “I believe that I am ready for this test.”
A seventh-grade boy trying to ask out a girl, “I believe that she does really like me.”
A tenth grader sizing up a potential bully, “I believe that I can take that dude.”
A recent college grad going into an interview, “I believe that I will get this job.”
And on it goes.
This type of belief is everywhere around us. So a series on our church’s beliefs have to move beyond this present-day self-belief system and begin to grasp what is meant by Biblical belief. So what do I mean?
I mean that the beliefs we hold as a church are not just things that we might like to happen one day. They are not things that we tell ourselves are true just so we can feel better. They are not even things that we feel most confident about but could see some variant truth turning out to be right as well. They are, instead, things that we know with 100% certainty.
Now, in the world we live in today, this is a dangerous thing to say. Beliefs are theoretically okay to have as long as you leave room for error. Beliefs are things that are allowed to move into the public sector as long as they are qualified in such a way that they are not true for everyone. And ironically, the only real belief that can be held absolutely is the conviction that there are not absolutely certain beliefs.
And this is why it is important to say at the outset of this series that the beliefs we hold as a church are not those types of beliefs. They are the things that we know with 100% certainty and clarity. They are the things that are true whether anyone ever acknowledges them or not. They are the things that, when all is said and done, will turn out to have been right and true all along. And we are unashamed to say that we know these certain truths. Why?
Because God has delivered them to us in His Word. It really is that simple.
I am excited to begin moving through these certain beliefs over the next several months. Because unlike that despondent college student returning home from seeing his football team lose a game that he truly believed they would win, these are the types of beliefs that will never let you down. You can be certain that when this world ends, these are the things that will remain.
For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. As the Scriptures say,
“People are like grass;
their beauty is like a flower in the field.
The grass withers and the flower fades.
But the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.
-1 Peter 1:23-25 (NLT)