Beliefs are funny things. People believe the strangest things, and the really strange thing is that most beliefs are never challenged. What I've discovered is that when people disagree about the meaning or application of a Bible passage, it nearly always boils down to what they already believe.
We all have the same Bible passages, but we all come to the table with different beliefs about that passage, how it fits in with other passages, and what we've been conditioned to believe by reading or listening to sermons or other teachings. We all read the same Bible passages, yet we view them through our own lenses of beliefs and presuppositions.
How do we get a "belief?" Some beliefs are formed from diligent, intellectually honest study. But we can also get a belief from "conditioning"—simply having exposure over and over for a period of time.
The beliefs that come from knowing what you believe and why you believe it are valuable and help you to have a right view of the world and God.
Beliefs that come from conditioning might be right, but they could be wrong. Either way, you know what you believe, but since it's just been fed to you, you probably don't really know why you believe it.
The troubling thing about beliefs is that no matter how a belief gets installed, your brain can't tell the difference. It's your belief whether it's right or wrong. And all beliefs work to make you who you are now and who you will become.
A belief is like a GPS—a map in your head of how things are and how things work. If you ever believed something would produce a result but it didn't, if you look upstream, you can probably attribute the failure to a bad belief. Since bad beliefs have affected your "present," then it's a good bet that bad beliefs will continue to affect your future. That's because all actions are preceded by a decision, and all decisions are based on what you believe. So what can you do?
At Grace Aware we encourage people to know what they believe and why they believe it. That means we need to be constantly and systematically asking ourselves "Why do I believe this?"
I can't tell you how many times I've come across people who mistake their beliefs for what the Bible teaches. They believe that since they read the Bible and go to church and read commentaries, then whatever they believe must be "Biblical," and everyone else must be wrong.
Romans 10:2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.
We need to go 'Beyond Belief' to an intellectually honest place where we become a seeker. A place where we no longer read into the Bible that which we already believe, but we become seekers of what the Bible actually says. By digging for ourselves, we'll know what we believe and why we believe it.