Tag Archives: Make a difference

What is the status of your unbelief?

20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

There are many things in the world that we believe in.  And there are many things that we do not believe in.  And these beliefs and unbelief’s permeate every one of our lives.  From social, to political, to science, and even our theology.  But have you ever stopped to consider how much easier it is to not believe than it is to believe?

I personally believe that the USA sent men to the moon and that they walked upon its surface.  This is as much a fact for me as the house that I live in or the clothes that I wear.  But there is an entire subculture that does not believe this.  No matter the evidence put before them.

I personally believe the earth is round, like a ball, hanging in space.  But there is a considerable subculture today that believes the earth is flat and not round.

I personally do not believe in Global Warming, Man Made Climate Change, or the data and extrapolations that come from such theories.  But there is a considerable number of people who do find this line of reasoning credible.

I personally do not believe that the current US administration colluded with Russia to alter the 2016 election results. But there are many people who do believe this.

I personally believe that abortion is murder and takes the life of a living human spirit.  But there are many that do not believe that and view abortion as an acceptable practice.

I personally believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God and that He came to earth to die for the sins of the world and that on the third day He rose from the dead proving his deity and solidifying His claims.  But there are a vast number of people who do not believe that.

In all of these, my belief is much harder than my unbelief.  It is easy to not believe something. But it is hard to actually believe something.  This is because our nature, our very human nature, is bent towards questioning and a need for proof.  And what I may require as proof is probably different than what you may require as proof.  We all want to be masters of our own destiny.  We want to be the ones in control.  And we all want to be our own judges of what is true and what is not.

Oftentimes we blame our skepticism on lack of faith.  We say that we have a problem with something because we do not have any faith in it.  We lack faith in our political systems.  We lack faith in our in our scientific methods.  We lack faith in our society.  And we certainly lack faith in our theology.

But how much faith does it take to effect changes in these areas in the world around us?  How much faith do we really need to make a difference in the world?

The disciples had this problem when they tried, on their own, to accomplish a task.  That of casting out a demon.  And when they failed, they came to Jesus and he told them that if they had but a very small amount of faith, that of a single mustard seed, they could move mountains.  At least that is what we usually focus on.

What we miss is the reason why they failed.  Jesus told them the reason they failed right up front.  See it there?  He told them the reason they were not successful is because of their unbelief.  Unbelief is a powerful thing in our lives and it will weigh heavy on our beliefs, dragging them down.  And then he told them that if they had a very small amount of faith they could move mountains.

From this we can learn that it is not the size of our faith that hinders us, it is the size of our unbelief that is important.  We are way too busy running around trying to increase our faith when what we should really be doing is working on our unbelief.

As further evidence of this I would submit God’s one requirement for entering into the Kingdom of Heaven, that of belief on the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.   God did not require us to first have great faith.  That naturally follows once we take care of our unbelief. Rather God requires us to believe.  Belief is where we must start and dealing with our unbelief is a foundational piece of that.

When a troubled father came to Jesus asking for healing for his child, Jesus asked him if he believed (Mark 9:23-24).  The father emphatically proclaimed that he believed and then immediately asked for help with his unbelief.  Jesus had just told him that all things were possible to those that believed, and the father so desperately wanted to believe.  But he knew that there were still doubts that were in his heart and he asked Jesus to help him with his unbelief.

I can assure you today that I have great faith that God is upon His throne.  He is in control, whether I believe that or not.  Faith that could move mountains and that I will stand for even though I walk in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  And yet mountains are not moved, lives are not changed, and there seems to be little difference in the world around me.  Why?  Probably because I’ve been asking God for great faith when I should be asking him to help me with my unbelief.

How about yourself?  Are mountains not moving in your life?  Are you failing to make a difference?  And do you double down on your efforts because of your great faith only to no avail?  Perhaps it’s time for us to work on our unbelief.  Jesus, help me with my unbelief so that the faith you have given me in my life may move mountains for Your glory.

Do You Make A Difference?

In 2008 The Oak Ridge Boys asked the question “Did I make a difference in somebody’s life?” through a pretty thoughtful melody.

They inspired people though song to consider whether or not they were making a difference in the world in which we all live.  The song is asking us whether or not we are making a positive difference.  And it embodies the idea of sacrifice in making that difference.  When the songwriter states “When my race is run, when my song is sung” it captures the idea of when at the end of my life, how will I be judged?

In reality, we all make a difference.  The very fact that you are alive and here on Earth means you have already made a difference.  Your presence has impacted the world.  All of our presence has impacted the world.  Some for good, and some for evil.  And using any reasonable world standard, we could all be judged to have impacted those around us with a little of both.

But what is the real difference we make?  Maybe I should ask what difference do you want to make?  Most of us want to make a difference, I might say that most of us try to make a difference.  After all, is that not how we are judged?  Isn’t that how we judge one another?  By the impact, or difference, someone makes in our lives?

When we are at our jobs we strive to make a difference.  That is the way we get noticed and are singled out for advancement.  When we court a sweetheart we want to make a difference.  That is how we gain their attention and eventually their love and affections.  When we interact with friends, relatives, and even strangers, we make a difference.  That is why we tell young people that first impressions are the most important.  Some of us make a difference by volunteering, helping the homeless, feeding the hungry, giving to the poor, or working in public service.  Some of us become Fire Fighters, Police Officers, Doctors, Nurses, or join the Military.  Because we want to make a difference.  Most of us want to make a difference, but few realize that we always do.  That we are constantly making a difference in someone else’s life with either positive or negative impressions whether we want to or not.

But to what end or gain?  What does it avail us to make a difference in the world?  What is the motivation?  What should be the motivation?  What do we hope to accomplish and how do we hope to be judged?  I’d like to consider this thought from our three primary base views.

If you are agnostic in your world view, I might ask (as I always do) why do you even care?  The agnostic is completely indifferent to making a difference or to those making a difference on them by sheer definition.  If the agnostic is working to make a difference, it is for their own gain or self-gratification.  Even if the agnostic is working “just in case there is a god”, they are hedging their bets and trying to garner good deed points in their own stead.  Just in case they actually are judged.  Since the agnostic is “rolling the dice”, as it were, they cannot possibly be working towards any other means other than their own good.

If you are atheistic in your world view, I have news for you.  It doesn’t matter whether you make a difference or not.  Void of a god, there is no moral relevance in your life.  I’ve had atheists argue that our moral values are a result of a common societal conscious agreement.  But that doesn’t hold water.  Consider the fact that the ancient Roman Empire considered it perfectly acceptable to put essentially defenseless civilians into an arena with lions, tigers, bears, and great Roman gladiators, in order to watch them meet their deaths for sport.  Today we would consider that barbaric.  The atheist would argue that our morals have evolved.  But that is exactly my point.  There is no relevance. No base.  And they cannot predict where evolutionary morals will take us next.  And whose to say what is right or what is wrong?  Perhaps the Romans were right in their time and we are wrong today.  Without a moral relevance it simply does not matter what difference you make other than for your own self gain.  And even then it is pointless given that all of the universe is just one great big chemical and physical reaction.  The true atheist, the one that has thought their world view through to its logical conclusion, realizes that it is all just natural processes following set laws and is completely without meaning.  And if there is no meaning, what does it matter whether or not you make a difference?

If your world view is theistic however, making a difference gains a whole new importance.  For the theist, making a difference is not about meeting man’s law, but rather meeting the law as prescribed by their god.  There are consequences to ones actions and making a difference determines how one will be judged by their creator.

There is one group of theists that have a quandary though.  For the Christian we are taught there is no one good, not even one (Romans 3:10).  Christianity is the only world religion that teaches there is nothing an individual can do to obtain favor with their God save he intervene in their lives.  Given that there is no one righteous in the Christian world view, even to the extent we cannot obtain our own salvation apart from our Creator himself, it is an amazement to me that so many Christians run around the world trying to “make a difference”.  How can you make a difference apart from The Great I Am, the Creator, the one true God?  You see, for the Christian it should be a different paradigm.  Not one of making a difference, but rather one of being made a difference in.

I wonder every single second of every single minute of every single hour of every single day of every single year if I ever do, or ever have, made a difference.

Which is why I have to constantly remind myself that it is not about me making a difference in the world, it is about Him, the Great I AM, making a difference in me.