Serenity Now…Insanity Later.
After my graduation from Bible school last week, I was reminded of a few previous classes I went to school with and some of the students I knew from them. As I thought about where they are now, I noticed that not all of them continued on in the walk with God. Some of them went on do some really great things, some of them are still in the oven but enjoying great fellowship with God, but unfortunately some of them appear to not be walking with God anymore.
Now, I’m not against any of those people and I’m not going to mention any names. I pray for them all the time. But it got me thinking about what the difference was in these two groups of students. What was the difference in the ones that kept going with the ones that fizzled out?
As I look back on my time in Bible school, it’s like we were in a bubble. We were continuously soaking in God’s presence through praise and worship time, teaching from the classes and fellowship with other students. This environment was created for us every time we showed up at school. Without consciously thinking about it, every time we showed up for class we were being ushered into the presence of God effortlessly.
I believe this is probably the major difference between the two groups. I don’t know for sure because I don’t everything that everybody is doing. But it seems to me that the ones that are continuing with God place a high value on their fellowship with God. After we graduate, it’s now our responsibility to give God time and get in His presence. If we don’t place a priority or value on this, it doesn’t just happen naturally as we were used to in Bible school. Even though we just graduated last week, we’ve been done with classes for a while now and I’ve already noticed how easy it is to get lost in the cares of this life and carried away from God. It’s hard to say no to certain people and activities sometimes but it’s easier when you know how much better the thing you’re saying yes to is.
So this is where the “serenity now, insanity later” phrase and our beliefs come into play. The phrase is from one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes where George’s dad Frank is advised to say serenity now whenever he encounters a situation where he is tempted to get upset. By the end of the episode he and Kramer end up throwing tantrums as a result of trying to bottle up their emotions. The point I’m trying to make is that we operate from what we believe. We can try to mask it and keep it hidden away but eventually it will come to the surface. This lines up with what scripture says as well in Proverbs 4:23: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Prov. 4:23 NIV Click To Tweet
When the Bible talks about the heart it is referring to your belief system, what you believe and is at the core of your being. As it pertains to the Bible school students, they can go to Bible college and get a degree, but if their beliefs don’t change as a result of it then it’s just like George’s dad saying serenity now but still having all this rage inside of him. What is at the core of their beliefs, the root of their belief system needs to be dealt with. Otherwise, they are being setup for a major letdown.
Since I’m in sales, an easy example of this is my own experience in sales and watching other sales people operate. When I’m selling a product I believe in, I don’t have to try so hard to sell it. What I believe about the product comes out naturally as I talk to people about it. However, when I’ve sold products I didn’t really believe in, it was a major struggle. It took a long time to memorize all the different lines they would teach us about how to overcome objections, how to sell the different features, etc. Since I was not persuaded about the product, these things did not naturally come to me. I had to work hard to get myself to a point where I could recite the lines properly, but even then it wasn’t nearly as effective because you also have the emotional factor in your presentation as well. It’s hard to always pretend you are excited about something when you’re really not. You may be able to fake it here and there but it doesn’t work as a long-term strategy.
In my opinion, getting to the core beliefs of a person is something the church as a whole has not done a very good job of. Most of the time, what I see and hear happening is that people are exposed to the Word of God and then pressured into making a decision for Christ before they are really ready or know what they are getting into. It seems for the most part that churches are more concerned about telling everybody how many people they saved and then getting them to act right, than they are about bringing somebody into a real relationship with Christ. What happens then is similar to the “serenity now, insanity later” phrase. They seem may have a little honeymoon phase in the beginning but when faced with the real situations that come up in life down the road…chaos awaits. It’s not because they are bad people or just don’t have any faith. It’s because their core beliefs have never been dealt with. They have either not been taught the right message and/or have not heard it enough so they get to the point where they actually believe it.
The scripture that most Christians use when evangelizing is Romans 10:9 which says; If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. What most focus on in is the declaring with your mouth “Jesus is Lord”, but notice it also mentions the belief in their heart. Salvation requires more than just having somebody repeat a line after you…there needs to be a belief born in their heart. I will get more into how belief is born in somebody’s heart in the next posts in this series. I’m not against positive confession by the way, I just think it has been overemphasized at the expense of the importance of one’s beliefs.
Grace exposes what is really in somebody’s heart but most churches are afraid to preach pure grace out of fear of what the people might do if they find out the truth. They have not trusted God in this area to where they will give people up to be compelled by the love of God. They feel they have to give motivational speeches or motivate people by fear in order for things to get done.
So the main point I wanted to make in this post was how important what you believe is.
It’s not about what you know, it’s about how you think and believe. If you know Ephesians 3:20 says God is able to do more than you could ever think or imagine but when faced with a difficulty you don’t believe that, then it’s not doing you much good. You need to have more than just head knowledge of these things for them to make a difference in your life. You need to get experiential knowledge and a revelation from God that comes from relationship with Him.
Praise God that He is about dealing with our beliefs not behavior modification and He knows how to reach you. Some of you may be reading this blog for that very reason. There are very few people who will preach a message of pure grace to you, but I have compiled a good list of resources here and will continue to do my best as He leads on this blog. I will be continuing to talk about your belief system and how God deals with it in this series on belief the next couple weeks, so be sure to stay tuned. I have posted a video below with highlights of the Seinfeld “Serenity Now” episode. Thanks for stopping by. God bless.