• Richard Parrish

Do I Believe?



Do I really believe?


It’s a question I often ask of my self because it serves as a critical “gut check.”


I’ve been a Christian since I was a child. My father was a minister. I was raised in the church. And, over the years I have struggled with the church, sown my wild oats, tried to distance myself from God – only to return to God, the church and the question:


Do I believe? Really?


Many consider that question. In an era where truth is asserted to be abstract, non-definitive, or suspect, coming to grips with faith is something we wrestle with. And, increased resistance to belief doesn’t diminish our desire and need to trust.


Humankind is wired to believe. But who will we trust?


Many Christians often collectively recite their faith when they meet for worship:


“I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth: And in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord…”

But do we really believe?


It’s much more challenging to live out our belief than to recite a creed. It’s easy to be familiar with Jesus, but more complicated to follow him. That was true for Jesus’ own brothers: “For not even his brothers believed in him.” [1]


His brothers were pressing Jesus to go to Jerusalem to demonstrate his miraculous powers. They thought: For Jesus to be widely known would require marketing expertise so others could see his astounding authority.


And, if Jesus really was who he claimed to be, what better place than Jerusalem, to argue the messianic question?


They failed to understand: God’s way would require a public display of humiliation on a cross, not a successful marketing campaign!


I frequently ask myself: Do I believe? The reason is: Like Jesus’ own brothers, my proximity to Jesus does not guarantee faith. Like them, I’m also affected by the culture around me. Belief in Jesus requires my allegiance, not just my profession. Faith in Jesus necessitates my obedience to his Word.


His brothers were not in disagreement with the world because they were like the world. Jesus was hated by the world because his commands conflicted with the world – then and now.


Following Jesus will frequently make me unpopular with cultural preference. Asking the question: “Do I really believe,” forces me to honestly examine how comfortable I’ve become (or not) with the world that surrounds me.


How comfortable are we with the cultural preferences of our day? If we’re not experiencing some tension in our faith, we may want to ask: Do we believe?


[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Jn 7:5.