The opening line of the sermon was: “What you believe about life affects everything about how you live your life.” The congregation quieted and heard once again: “What you believe about life affects everything about how you live your life.”
Sometimes we believe happiness will eventually show up, or we might suppose, “If I do ‘this,’ then ‘that’ will result.” However, if what we believe is not based on biblical truth, challenges are certain to affect how we live our lives. For example, when a loved one is diagnosed with a disabling condition, disillusionment can follow because it can directly shake our fundamental beliefs about life itself.
In a helpful section of the book titled The Lost Virtue of Happiness, authors J. P. Moreland and Klaus Issler write about this subject.
The most significant verse he [Paul] ever penned about spiritual transformation is Romans 12:2.... “Do not be conformed to this world,” he tells us, “but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” ...Think of what Paul could have said—but did not. He could have said, be transformed by developing feelings of closeness with God, by exercising your will in obeying biblical commands, by intensifying your desire for the right things, by fellowship and worship, and so on. Obviously, these are important parts of the Christian life. Yet Paul chose to mention none of them in his most important summary of the spiritual life. Why is that? It is clear that, for him, how one thinks and what one honestly believes form the very core of character and transformation.... Beliefs are the rails on which our lives run.1
Sometimes the “light at the end of the tunnel” is seen when we choose to examine what Scripture reveals about life rather than how quickly we can remove our pain. The New Testament book of James is a great place to begin. Candidly and vividly, James illuminates important principles about our lives, reminding us what it means to live in truth—truth which promises to set us free (John 8:32). I strongly urge you to read a few verses from James each day and ask these three simple questions:
- What truths are found in these verses?
- What have I believed about life that conflicts with these truths?
- Am I willing to release my false beliefs in order to believe what is true?
Remember, “What you believe about life affects everything about how you live your life.”
1. J. P. Moreland and Klaus Issler, The Lost Virtue of Happiness: Discovering the Disciplines of the Good Life (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2006), 94–96. Used by permission of NavPress, All rights reserved. www.navpress.com (1-800-366-7788)