Belief Versus Profession
"I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."1
It is a truism that we don't always act consistently with what we profess, but we always act consistently with what we believe.
If, for example, deep down I believe (feel) that I am unlovable, I will act in such a way that I will drive love away from me—regardless of what I profess. Also, if I believe (feel) I am a bad person, I will act badly. If, on the other hand, I believe I am lovable, I will act in a loving manner, and if I believe I am fully responsible for every area of my life, I will act responsibly. In almost every way our beliefs shape our destiny—for this life and the life to come.
Also, if I say I believe that people without Christ are lost eternally and don't do anything to help communicate the gospel to them, chances are I may not really believe this in my heart at all. I just profess it. I believe it was Dallas Willard who said, "Believers are those who act as if the gospel is true."
One way to "program" beliefs into our heart (the subconscious mind) is through repetition and memorizing them, meditating on them, and then acting on them to reinforce them. As we have emphasized before, "What the mind dwells on the body acts on." If you don't believe this, think how temptation works. David certainly confirmed this principle when he said, "I have hidden your word [God’s Word] in my heart that I might not sin against you."
In a similar vein, the Apostle Paul wrote, "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved"2 In other words, beliefs need to be in the heart—not just in the head!
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to hide your Word in my heart and choose my beliefs carefully—so that I will not sin against you—and so I will live in harmony with your will always in all ways. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Psalm 119:11 (NIV).
2. Romans 10:9 (NIV).