"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15

Friday, February 11, 2011

Behavior is to Belief as Belief is to Behavior?

When we were wild, rambunctious children it may not have been unlikely that at some point we heard our parents say, "I can't believe your behavior!?!?!"  As we get older, there are times when we examine our own lives and say the same thing.  "I can't believe I did that!"  I think that often we default to think that our behavior flows out of what we believe, and this is true; our world view will determine the way we live our lives down to our most basic behaviors.  But often our sinful natures will cry out the exact opposite.  Not " I can't believe I behaved this way" but "I can't bend my behavior to this belief".  What happens when a deep-seated stronghold of a behavior stands in opposition to our world view?  Either the behavior has to change or the world view has to.

Behavior can determine ones world view.

I read a really interesting article on Christianity Today' website called Unreasonable Doubt, dealing with those un-admitted reasons why some people become atheists.

Romans  1:19 states clearly that God has made plane to man what can be known about Him.  And yet, many are strongly convinced that God is nothing more real then the Easter bunny.  How is that?

The answer comes prior in Romans 1:18.  It speaks of how we are capable of suppressing truth through wickedness.  Literally our behavior snuffs out the truth so that we are incapable of seeing it.

I see this happen in me.  I find that the more I've given in to certain sins over time, the more comfortable I become with them...so much so that I begin to wonder why I thought the behavior was so wrong in the first place.  I'll shrug it off, or maybe even go as far as to look at it as growing up..."maturing".  Maybe this is why so many people have a shift of world view in college.  A lot of college-aged "self discovery" is nothing more than embracing moral depravity and not recognizing sin for what it really is.

We may ask ourselves how it was possible for Christians in this country at one time to own slaves.  Does the Christian world view promote such behavior towards other human beings?  Slaves were useful and slavery was common.  Behavior determined belief.  People were so numb to the sinful dehumanization of slavery that they didn't believe what they were doing was wrong.

How could Germany have supported the Nazi regime?  How did it get to the point that people were cooked in ovens and gassed in showers?  Behavior eventually changes belief.  Its much easier to treat someone that way when they aren't human.

This is a profound truth that we need to recognize.

I think we all have our little pet sins that we like to nurture and feed, hold in our laps and scratch their bellies.  Sure we know that they can be naughty little mutts--barking out against what we say we believe, but they are manageable; they can be hidden and muzzled when needed.  Though these pet sins are perceived as small, they are ferocious dragons ready to overpower both us and the world view we claim.  If we hold on to these "little" pets to long, pretty soon we become enslaved to them,  unaware of how foolish we look walking around on the wrong end of the leash.

Sin can't be managed.  Don't walk your pet sin around on a leash; take the leash and make a noose.  Sin needs to be killed.


Alyssa Dawn said...

Thanks, Tyler. I had not thought about it this way before, but it rings true. Thanks for sharing this insight.

I would add that I don't think we ever actually act contrary to our beliefs. Yes, we act contrary to our professed worldview, but our behavior betrays what we actually are believing at that moment. This is why we need to be transformed by the continual renewing of our minds with Truth and why we need to kill those sins which numb our minds to accept the lies.

ty said...

great insight Lyss!