What we believe matters. It affects how we live, what we do and say. We can say we believe something but what we truly believe is what will eventually come out in our behavior and attitudes.
It seems many Christians these days are not interested in theology, feeling it is too “academic” for them. Theology is the study of God and learning who He is. We all have beliefs in who we think God is. Theology is studying to understand better the truth of who He is, correcting any faulty views we may have. We all have a theological view, whether we realize it or not. The importance of theology is making sure what we believe lines up with what Scripture teaches so that we have an accurate view of God.
For a personal example of how this plays out, here is the story of a challenging week we had in February 2014. Having a theology of God based on Scripture made a difference in handling the mini-crisis that we encountered. Our cat Mocha had a traumatic experience at the vet on a Monday night and wasn’t eating. She acted like she was sick and we were concerned whether we might lose her. Believing that God is sovereign and is in control was comforting, knowing that we could trust Him with whatever the outcome would be. Our theology gave us something to hold on to while unsure of what would happen. That didn’t necessarily mean that Mocha would recover. God could choose to take her. But we also believe that she belongs to Him and He has the right to do with her as He chooses. Yet He works all things for His glory, so whatever happened would be for His honor and glory. Our theology mattered in the day-to-day routine of taking care of Mocha and trusting that God would give us wisdom for what to do. Mocha is now back to her normal self and is eating fine. Yet this was also a reminder that all that we have is God’s, for Him to do with as He so desires. She belongs to Him whether healthy or sick.
Bible reading and study lead us to develop our beliefs about God – our own theology and doctrines, what we believe about who God is and what He has done for us. This theology and belief about God is then worked out in how we live our daily lives, our own discipleship with Christ and teaching and discipling of others.
It seems that many American Christians are not actively involved in reading and studying their Bible. As a result, their theology and doctrine are weak. They don’t know what they believe and so are tossed about by the winds of the times, the beliefs that are prevalent in the society around them. Without knowing what they believe (and why) they are then unable to defend their beliefs to others. They do not grow in their Christian walk and as disciples of Christ and thus are unable to disciple others in the faith.
We need to be reading the Bible and studying it! We need to be learning theology and doctrine, who God is and what we believe. These things are vital for the Christian to grow.
John 20:30-31: “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (ESV)