"Christians seem to have the amazing ability to say the most wonderful things without actually believing them...." -John Stuart Mill
I read the above quote in a blog a few weeks ago, and have not been able to escape the echo of it since. Because I have a hard time taking things at face value, and because I am surrounded by people affectionately known as “the Accuracy Police,” I did a little reading on Mill. Surprisingly, he was not a churchgoer. He was a British philosopher in the 1800s whom some called agnostic, while others dubbed him atheist. Regardless of his beliefs, I did find his observation of some Christians (including myself at times) to be quite accurate.
And then I got to thinking. Imagine what would happen if we actually believed what we say? How would we live differently if what we said was true actually became truth to us? Imagine if the words we read in Scripture really are true? How would our lives be different? And what’s more, how would the lives of those around us be different?
Imagine if, instead of just saying these things, we (no, let me make it personal, if I) actually believed:
-“the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.” (Ps. 33:4)
-“my God turns my darkness into light.” (Ps. 18:28)
-“Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.” (Ps. 68:20)
-“if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor. 5:17)
-“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! (1 John 3:1)
-“Perfect love drives out fear.” (1 John 4:18)
-“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)
-“the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations…” (Deuteronomy 7:9)
-“Everything is possible for him who believes.” (Mark 9:23)
-“he who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23)
-"The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” (Psalm 103:8)
-“For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” (Psalm 100:5)
-“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
-“we are more than conquerors through him who loved us…” (Romans 8:37)
And the list could go on and on. Imagine what would happen if we really believed God is who He says He is; that He really can do what he says He can do? What would we have faith for that we do not? What prayers would we pray that we do not? What conversations would we have that we do not? What forgiveness would we extend that we have not? What peace would we have that we do not? What freedom would we know that we do not? And what about those around us? What life would they see that they do not? What love would they know that they do not? What freedom would they experience that they have not?
John Stuart Mill may have been right about the Christians of his day. But this is a new day. May we choose, this day, and every day, to live like we truly believe what we say we believe. It has the potential to change not only our lives, but the lives of those around us. Just imagine…