What Do I Believe—For Real?

GodReflection: I Believe.

I believed in Santa Claus. But not anymore. It was ok for a while. In fact, it was fun—my life filled with suspense, anticipation, joy; and I learned rich lessons about how to give and how to receive. That was then. I no longer believe in Saint Nick, Mrs. Claus, nor in a North Pole residence with its workshop, elves, reindeer, and sleigh. What happened?

Why do I believe what I do at this point in my walk? Just what is belief anyway? What is it based upon? Can belief be real? Is there an ultimate reality? I imagine if you and I sat down together we could come up with pages and pages of related questions.

I suspect the presence of cultural noise isn’t new to our current time; although it seems louder than I recall before. We human types always have opinions. It is just that our 21st Century technology allows us to bombard each other with every conceivable idea. Again, how do I know what to believe and what to reject?

Here is what I think. The only way I can get a handle on this is to revisit the path of my own belief journey as honestly as I know how.

Many times, over the course of my GodReflection Blog I have referred to my unmerited “luck of the draw” to come from a family tree with an abundant fruit of God-believers. Sure, our tree has some rotten fruit and even includes a good dose of dysfunctional juice in the good fruit. My basic belief system emerged from that tree. It bloomed from nurture and instruction by my parents. So now back to Santa Claus.

Christmas was a big deal at our house throughout my childhood. My parents used the Santa Claus story as a way for us to experience joy, learn about hope and expectation, and to teach us to give and to receive. Frankly, I doubt this was a planned strategy but rather a natural vehicle of culture that allowed them to share with us what they learned from The Holy.

But finally, one Christmas arrived when I heard my dad roll in the bicycles Santa was to deliver—POP! My Santa Claus balloon burst—I no longer believed he was real. What was real was dad, mom, my brother, sisters, extended family, and my church family. No, they weren’t perfect, but they were authentic and lived their values. As I grew, I learned their values came from The Holy who I met on the pages of my childhood Bible.

They were all my teachers. With accumulated input by word and example I came to believe Father God, Jesus Son, and Holy Spirit—unlike Santa Claus—to be real. At my young age when I declared, “I Believe” that was about the extent of my belief system. What I did not know at the time was that the totality of my belief system would form step by step over a lifetime through the struggle to distinguish fact from fiction as I sort through all the information that daily bombards my senses.  I separate what assails my senses to distinguish good from evil, to distinguish best from good and to distinguish essential from non-essential.

What I know is this. I have not yet arrived. But because I now believe with greater assurance with each additional year Father God, Jesus Son, and Holy Spirit are real, I find they aid me in my process to know what to believe and what to reject. But more on that in the weeks to come as we try to go deeper into the faith, trust, and truth involved in belief.

I would love to hear from you. How have you decided what to believe for real? Did you have a childhood belief used by God to call you to believe for real in the Holy?

Stay tuned,

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection on What Do I Believe—For Real?




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