Do you ever think about what you think about?
Seriously. What’s going on in that head of yours? What do you believe?
You may be thinking of what Biblical knowledge you have. Like what you believe about Jesus. What you believe to be True. How you view the world around you in light of that.
Maybe you have doubts. You’re reading this blog thinking, “Kaley… I genuinely don’t really know what I believe.” That’s totally fine. You do not have to have this figured out. God’s not scared of your doubts and questions. He can handle it. Ask away. Wrestle with this.
You may not even care. That’s not important to you right now. That’s cool too.
BUT did you know that no matter where we’re at, we all have some kind of formal and functional belief system that we operate our life out of.
So, what do you believe?
Our formal beliefs are what we’d write down on paper. A beautiful example of this would be the Apostles Creed which you may or may not be familiar with based on your church or denomination. But, it’s essentially a formal belief statement the church at large has recited for centuries. It goes like this:
"I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
Beautiful, formal belief statement right? Functional belief is simply the way we live out our formal belief.
I’m about to speak at a young women’s conference titled “Be the Change.” So, let’s use that theme as an example. Our formal belief is that, through Jesus, we can “Be the Change.” Our functional belief is how we’re actually tangibly impacting our friends, communities, schools, and churches with the Gospel.
All of our functional beliefs are controlled by our formal beliefs. What we genuinely think and say directly results in what we do.
So, back to our question. What do you truly, authentically believe?
I was scrolling through Instagram the other day and a clip of Francis Chan popped up. I think he was speaking at Passion Conference… So, picture him sharing a message in the center of a stadium full of thousands of young people. He stated, “One of the most dangerous things about your culture is how much value you place on your own thoughts. God’s ways are higher.”
Isn’t this so true? We live in a “live your truth” culture that thinks our thoughts hold a ton of value. When we think about what we’re thinking about, we think it’s true. So true, in fact, that everyone should believe it too and if they don’t we just cancel them, right? We shame or gossip about them and shove them into a social media corner.
If we truly believe that our version of “truth” carries weight, there’s a HUGE issue at hand. Mainly because the thoughts in our head were created by us. “Your truth” is exactly that…. Yours. Just yours.
I love to paint. My process typically starts with a sketch, I shade and then add color. Eventually, that obscure pencil sketch turns into a colorful, bright picture. Take a moment to imagine God as the artist. He’s starting to sketch something and you pull up a chair. Gazing over the pencil lines, you try to guess what the big picture is going to turn out to be. But, based on the vague pencil markings alone, you come up short. What’s true about the initial process isn’t true about the final product. The same goes for our lives. We’re in the dead middle of a situation or circumstance because our lives are in process. We have no idea what’s actually true about the final product.
We have to surrender our beliefs because of exactly what Francis Chan said. God actually knows the Truth. His ways are higher. Check out this verse:
If part of our formal belief statement is that we are followers of God, then we cannot sit here today and give our thoughts and personal version of “truth” a ton of credibility. Why? Because, we’re often wrong. Our truths are susceptible to change. Our emotions and circumstances can clutter up our thinking space. BUT, we have God. We have Jesus who says, “I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE (John 14:6."
Why would we settle for our own version of truth when our God is the Truth and can see the big picture of our lives when we simply can’t? Our thoughts hold value. They are important. But if we want stability in life and to walk clearly and confidently in the right direction, we have to give the highest credibility to the God who can see the big picture, whose ways are higher, and embodies Truth.
Create a formal belief in who God is and your identity in Him by His word through Jesus Christ. Then, let’s functionally live this out through our actions by taking the Gospel message of love, grace and freedom into the community around us.
Calling all young women, their mentors, mothers, and leaders...
This is one groooovvvyyy event young women don't want to miss. I can't wait to inspire and speak life into middle school to college age women as a speaker for Unbound Ministries "Be the Change" Conference. This is an all day event at Revolution Church full of worship, speakers, and breakout sessions and expect some fun surprises along the way.
THERE ARE ONLY A FEW SEATS LEFT! Register while you can!
Kaley Rivera Thompson is an author, copywriter, public speaker, and musician. She serves as the Director of Communications and Donor Relations for the student sports-centric nonprofit she and her husband, Gage, run called Twelve. When she's not championing other women, cheering on the rising generation, writing or playing her guitar, Kaley loves to sip strong coffee, go on hikes, or take a day trip to the mountains with her family. She takes the most pride in being a mom to two little girls, Lina and Lili. You can follow her on instagram at @kriverathompson or find out more on her website at kriverathompson.com.