One of the main things I have come to understand in life is this: belief determines behavior.
Now, not all of our behavior flows directly from our beliefs, for each of us can be very good at behaving irrationally at times. But, for the most part, our behavior flows directly from what we believe to be true.
If you believe a chair will support you, you sit in it.
If you believe the chair will break, you don’t sit in it.
If you believe you have found the perfect person, you marry them.
If you believe someone is intolerable, you don’t marry them.
If you believe having children will make your life happier, you have them.
If you believe having children will make your life miserable, you don’t have them.
I’m sure we can all agree that the majority of the time, our beliefs determine our behavior.
Now, let’s see what you believe the answer is to this question:
Did God ultimately create us for life here on earth or for life with him in eternity?
This is one of the most important questions you could ask yourself, because what you believe the answer to be will determine how you behave every day of your life. It will affect every area of your life. It will affect all of your motives, how you set your goals, how you behave in your relationships, how you approach your job, and how you spend your free time. But, most importantly, your belief on this matter will determine:
- how you approach God
- what you seek from God
- what you expect from God
- how you respond to what God chooses to give you and what he chooses not to give you
If you believe that you were created for life here on earth, then:
- You may not have much use for God at all because, in all honesty, a person can acquire a whole lot here on earth without God.
- If you do acknowledge God, you will seek from him earthly treasures and earthly happiness.
- You will expect him to deliver these earthly blessings you ask for because, if he doesn’t deliver these earthly blessings, what is he good for?
- Your response to him will be strictly determined by what he does or does not give you here on earth.
If you believe that you were created for life with him in eternity, then:
- Hopefully, you will approach God as the holy and righteous Creator who has the power to send you to hell because of your rebellion and sins against him, but also — with his help — as a gracious Father, anxious to apply his Son’s sacrifice to your sins and to bring you home, so that he can shower you with love.
- You will seek God for who he is and not for what he can give you, knowing that he is a perfect Father who desires your best and enjoys giving his children wonderful blessings.
- Understanding that — although you are a new creation on the inside — you are still plagued with fleshly desires that oppose your new inner person, you will expect God to ignore your requests that do not line up with his will, to give you what he knows you need, and to withhold that which would harm you.
- You will respond to him will love and appreciation, not because of what he does or does not give you here on earth, but because he has given you himself and all the eternal blessings that come with being his child.
Now, I’m pretty sure that every one of you reading this will say you believe that God created you for life with him in eternity. And I’m also pretty sure that — if you are anything like me — the way you approach God, what you seek from him, what you expect from him, and how you respond to him do not look exactly like what I just listed as the way you should behave based on your belief.
So, what is the problem? Where is the disconnect?
If behavior flows from belief, why are we not living as if we were created for eternity? Why are we approaching God as if we were created for life here on earth? Why are we seeking earthly blessings from him instead of eternal blessings? Why are we expecting him to deliver all our earthly-minded wants and desires? Why do we treat him as if he is failing at his job, just because our life doesn’t look like we want it to?
If this describes you, then the problem lies in one of two places:
- Either you don’t really believe, deep down, that you were created for life with God in eternity (I don’t believe this to be the problem for most of us), or
- You need to repent of your earthly mindset and the fleshly patterns in your life that have caused you to behave contrary to your beliefs and, by God’s grace and in his power, start to live a life in which holy behavior flows from your holy beliefs.
He is a God full of love and grace, and he knows that the thing you need most is him, even when you don’t know it. If you believe this, then come to him, place your life fully in his hands, and be ready to experience the ultimate joy as he gives you all that he is.