Do you really believe?
“Do you really believe that what you believe is really real?” I first heard that question asked back in 2006 when I went to a training session for those who wished to teach the recently released Christian worldview study entitled, “The Truth Project.” The twelve part DVD series was produced by Focus on the Family and features Dr. Del Tackett* as the teacher. Over the last nine years I have often thought of that powerful and important question. Re-read that question once again and ponder it for a moment.
I thought of that question again today as we read and discussed Jeremiah 32. In this passage the prophet Jeremiah is given an opportunity to put his money where his mouth was. He had been preaching that God’s people would be taken into exile to Babylon by the invading Chaldean army. He prophesied the exile would last for 70 years at the end of which time the people of Judah would be allowed return to their homeland. While Jeremiah was under arrest for his unpopular preaching, he entertained an unexpected guest who came with a surprising offer. Well, the guest would have been unexpected and the offer would have been surprising had God not tipped off his imprisoned prophet just before the man’s arrival.
Jeremiah’s cousin, Hanamel, came with a business proposition. He wished to sell a field to Jeremiah so that the land would remain in the family. You wouldn’t need an MBA to know this wasn’t the time to buy property. The city was under siege. It was only a matter of time before it fell. The field was located in Anatoth, just a few miles from Jerusalem. Jeremiah knew he would never be able to look the land over let alone actually live on it or farm it. Nevertheless, he believed this offer was a God-orchestrated opportunity to validate publicly the truth of what he had been declaring openly: God’s people would return to the land God had once given them. While Jeremiah would not benefit from the land, his family would. It is clear that Jeremiah really did believe that what God had promised him was really real.
Do we share such rock solid conviction? I believe that if we did it would forever alter what we value and dramatically inform how we expend our resources of time, money, and energy.
I once read that Billy Sunday, the professional baseball player turned evangelist, used to preach “heaven high, hell hot, sin wrong, and Christ wonderful.” Those are some great truths. If we really believe that those truths are really real that will have a profound effect on how we live, what we talk about, with whom we spend time, and why.
How do we get from where we are to where we need to be? The secret is found in Jeremiah 32. The chapter begins: “The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD . . .” and the chapter ends: “. . . declares the LORD.” In between the two are a myriad of expressions that signify God is speaking (vv. 3, 5, 6, 8, 14, 15, 25, 26, 28, 30, 36, 42).
Do you want to really believe that what you believe is really real? There is a strong connection between living life like that and regularly connecting with God’s word. Paul told us long ago, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). If we want God to grow and build our faith then we must put ourselves in a position where we can be confronted with His word. Tuesday mornings at 7:00 is one such opportunity, but I bet you can think of some others.
Matt Miles holds a BA in Pastoral Ministry from Oklahoma Baptist University, a M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a D.Min. from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He was a pastor for 25 years during which time he pastored four Southern Baptist churches and one Evangelical Free church.
He moved from Stillwater to Enid in July of 2015. He is not currently serving as a pastor, he is active in the ministry of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid and occasionally supply preaches for area churches.