• Jack Selcher

Believing in God Is Not Enough (Part 1 of 5)

About 30 years ago George Barna found that 74% of American adults strongly agreed and 12% agreed somewhat that “there is only one true God, who is holy and perfect, and who created the world and rules it today.” 1 If that’s so, why were moral values of our society “circling the drain” then and even more so today?

James connected belief and behavior when he wrote, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead (James 2:26, NIV). If people do not live their “beliefs,” do they really believe them?

The Greek word for “believe” means “to persuade, give credit to, trust, or confide in.” 2 Belief is only as good as its object. We trust in things and people every day. Sometimes it is no big deal. If we trust a friend to repay a dollar she borrowed, her failure won’t ruin us. Sometimes our life is at stake. Some who have trusted a barrel to protect them during a plunge over Niagara Falls have been disappointed to death! My mother trusted a doctor to operate on her in a competent fashion. He did not. She died. Daily, we risk our lives when we trust other drivers to remain on their own side of the road and not hit us.

Believe is an action word. Robert Chesebrough believed in the healing properties of the Vaseline he invented. He burned, cut, and scratched himself repeatedly to demonstrate his trust in it. People could see the wounds now healed and scarred over and realize both the value of Vaseline and the depth of Robert’s faith in it. 3 Do our daily actions demonstrate our faith in God?

“Believe” is a relationship word. Most people believe that God exists. Relatively few have a relationship with Him that affects the way they live. John Paton translated the New Testament into the language of the New Hebrides in the South Sea Islands. Their language didn’t have a word for “believe” in the sense of trust. Finally, he found a solution. Paul and Silas told the Philippian jailor that to be saved he had to believe in the Lord Jesus (Acts 16:31). Paton’s translation was, “Lean your whole weight upon the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.”4


1. Barna, George. What Americans Believe. Regal Books. 1991. p. 201.

2. Lockyer, Herbert. All the Doctrines of the Bible. Zondervan. 1964. p. 194.

3. Walker, Ralph, Concord, North Carolina. Leadership Magazine. Winter Quarter 1991, p. 49.

4. Tan, Paul Lee. Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations. Assurance Publishers. 1984. p. 185.

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