What we choose to believe is not simply a matter of Biblical fact. The presence of the medium in 1 Samuel may establish a spiritual truth that communication with the dead is possible, causing some to say, “I believe in ghosts because the Bible says this.” But what consequence is there to that belief? What actions can be seen in the lives of “believers” in ghosts and spirits?

I use this example to draw out a greater point: the substance of belief is not found inside of the acknowledgement that something is Biblically true. A practical, useful definition of belief rests on the intersection of the capacity of God to work in the world and the willingness of His people to act as if they know He will.

Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard about this, they followed Him on foot from the cities. When He came ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.
Now when it was evening, the disciples came to Him and said, “This place is secluded and the hour is already past to eat; send the crowds away, so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go; you give them something to eat!” They *said to Him, “We have nothing here except five loaves and two fish.” And He said, “Bring them here to Me.” And ordering the crowds to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looked up toward heaven. He blessed the food and breaking the loaves, He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up what was left over of the broken pieces: twelve full baskets. There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children.

Matthew 14:13-21

Do we believe in the Resurrected Jesus? Then we should obey Him as if the one who has the power to raise the dead is backing us up.

Do we believe in God the Creator? Then we should walk in His ways knowing the hands that made the path also made us for that task.

Do we believe in the Comforter, the Holy Spirit? Then we should speak as if we have the indwelling of God as an advocate.

Bear with me for the moment by putting aside any limits you may have come to believe are in place on God’s power in the current era. Where does God begin and end, and where are the boundaries to His power? I won’t belabor this point but refer fellow believers to a famous conversation between God and a guy named Job that came to a conclusion which can be paraphrased as, “I can’t but God can.”

When Jesus commanded the disciples with “feed them”, He did so knowing that they had seen his miracles, heard him teach and chosen to follow Him. When Jesus commands us, can we do better than them? Can we believe in Him and do as He says?

And they brought the boy to Him. When he saw Him, the spirit immediately threw him into convulsions, and falling to the ground, he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth. And He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to kill him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” But Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible for the one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief!”

Mark 9:20-24

Lord, we’re here. We came here because we have heard about you and we want to follow you, but we have not been practicing our belief to Your fullest. We want to do all things and be the ones who are healing and help to the world now, just as you were then. We struggle now with taking the step of faith to do everything you ask; help our unbelief. Amen

Ethan Kirl

Originally Published December 31, 2021