Belief v. reliance. Lisa and I have had an ongoing conversation the last couple of days regarding this topic. Lisa had an interesting thought. You see, she and I have been praying continually and consistently for revival in the Church (that's big Church, universally not just Ridgeview). It's easy to get frustrated with the news you watch and the things you read in the paper. It's even more frustrating to watch the response (or lack of response) by those who call themselves believers. Here's Lisa's thought (hope I get this right Lisa)...
...maybe the problems and weaknesses we are experiencing in the church today are because we have too many believers and not enough people with total reliance on God. Modern surveys say that at least 80% of Americans believe in God. Obviously that belief hasn't translated into a fresh morality in our culture our a strengthening of our churches. The Bible says that even the demons believe in God. But belief doesn't change us (or them), reliance does.
I believe reliance is the major difference between a church that is going through the motions and one that is making a noticeable impact on their culture. It's what enables them to take what they hear on Sunday morning and turn it into lifestyle change the other six days of the week.
I believe reliance is what changed those first disciples from a common bunch of rabble to a world-changing, community-reaching, salvation-preaching band of brothers. Everybody in Jerusalem believed in Jesus (they had all seen Him) and many believed He was the Son of God. But only a few had turned their lives completely over to Him, trusting and relying on Him for their very existence.
And I believe reliance is the only thing that can save us. A believer is one who cuts Jesus out of their finances when things get tough or allows their "calendar" to keep them from worship and fellowship on a weekly basis. They are the ones who complain when the church doesn't do things the way they like or go to church week-after-week without ever finding a place to serve in the body. Someone who is relying on God understands that God is the First and Last part of all we are. He is our financial supply. He is the One around which our world, much less our schedule, is built. He is the Source of our comfort, the Provider of our talents, the Measure of our existence and the Foundation on which our only hope exists.
You can believe in God and never change who you are. You can believe in God and never make an impact on anyone that God puts in your life. You can believe in God and still live life by chance, never knowing the purpose He has for you.
OR, you can rely on Him. There's a world of difference.