Becoming Believers

“Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.” (Mk. 16:9-11)

Did you catch that… the disciples didn’t believe that Jesus was alive! Even though Jesus had told them over and over again that He would be crucified and raised again on the third day… they still seemed to stumble over the news from Mary. No question, the disciples had faith in Jesus; they knew He was the Messiah. He was a trusted friend… their Lord, King and Master. To the best of their ability they knew Him as God, but they couldn’t believe He was going to do what He said He would do. It’s just like many Christians today. They have faith in God, but they don’t believe the promises of God… what He tells us in His Word.

Faith vs. Believing:

Is there a difference? In some ways there doesn’t seem to be much difference. We see the words faith and believing used interchangeably. Yet it is important that we see the difference, so that we can grow in our faith by enlarging our capacity to believe.

Faith, as the Bible tells us is the substance of things hoped for and the assurance of things not yet seen (Heb. 11:1). In this way it becomes a force that emerges out of your spirit man, based upon knowledge and hope. The Apostle Paul said faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). It’s a gift from God and a fruit of the Holy Spirit that grows as we learn how to overcome doubts and unbelief. In fact, Timothy was commanded by the Apostle Paul, his mentor; to fight the good fight of faith (1 Tim. 6:12).

Believing on the other hand is an activity of the soul, choosing to believe mentally or to agree with God – is what unleashes the force of faith. You might ask for an example… the best I can think of is Abraham’s faith. The Book of Romans tells of Abraham’s believing, against all the facts and natural limitations; that he and Sarah would have a son. It says that “he did not waver at the Promise of God through unbelief but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God” (Rom. 4:20). His believing was activated by his consistent praise and “giving glory to God”… and he grew in his conviction that God was able to do all that He had promised.

Unlocked & Released:

So we can see the difference between faith and believing, in that faith must be unlocked and released by our actions… our words and behavior. These are soul realities and activities of the mind, will and emotion. Believing is what makes faith the force that pleases God (Heb 11:6). If faith is the currency of heaven… then believing is the transaction that moves the heart of the Father. Faith itself may be available, but until it is acted upon, vocalized or passionately demonstrated; it is like wanting a trinket, but never getting the coins out of your pocket. Faith without works is dead (Jms. 2:20)… but Jesus said that if you believe nothing will be impossible (Mk. 9:23).

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