Written by Bryan Holmes
I have been going through a journey in life recently…maybe you could even call it a pilgrimage. One of the things I am learning through this journey is that I have 2 doctrines at play in my life. One doctrine- we can call this one the conscious doctrine- is the one in which you say you believe. The other doctrine- we can call this one the subconscious doctrine or true doctrine- is the one in which your life reflects you believe. A simple question can really lead to tremendous internal reflection if you allow it to: What do you believe? Often times we stay within the conscious part of our brain when answering questions like this one. Without much exploration, we give a simple surface answer and move on…but there is more to us than a simple surface answer. There is a deeper part of us that drives the decisions we make…drives the way we live out our life. This is where our true doctrine resides. It is a life long journey to figure out not only what your true doctrine is, but also where each belief came from. There is a scripture in Romans that has been on my mind off and on for the past few years.
“They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator- who is forever praised, Amen.” (Romans 1:25 NIV)
When you look at the context of this verse, you see a people who gave up their faith in God and turned to a multitude of different god’s…one’s that were created instead of the Creator. So God gave them over to their own sinful desires. It is easy to see something like this and say to ourselves, “we are still faithful and haven’t done what these people have done.” We then separate ourselves from them and move on…but have we in some ways done the same thing? Have we created an image of God that is false and then worshiped that image as if it were the real God? This is where that idea of having 2 doctrines comes back into play. Without realizing it, I think we have traded in at least some of the truths of God for lies…and we worship that version of God. Let’s take some simple Christian truths and just see what they show us about ourselves. I am going to list a Bible verse and then a few questions for you to answer. I want you to then take the time to reflect upon the answers and then write them down. One answer will be quick and one will really take some thought. I am curious of the outcome.
“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV)
Do you believe the LORD has gone before you in life and will be with you the rest of your life? Do you believe he will never leave your side? (Write down what you believe here)
When you look at your everyday life and the decisions you make, what does your life reflect you believe here? (This is not a quick answer. Whatever you just thought, scratch it and go deeper.)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
Do you believe God has good plans for your life? Do you believe He not only knows what is best for your life but also wants the best for you as well? Do you believe your life is worthy of His plans for you? (Write down what you believe here- this is your conscious belief)
When you look at your everyday life and the decisions you make, what does your life reflect you believe here? (This again, is not a quick answer)
So, how did it all go? Did you learn something about yourself you didn’t know before? Last year at about this time, I learned that I had grief working its way through various parts of my life. It had always been there, but I couldn’t see it because it was hidden within my subconscious. I think our true doctrine works the same way, hidden right in front of us. But I also think if we are brave enough to uncover it and face it- we can then get on the road to figuring out why we started to believe the way we do and find healing. I would like to encourage you to continue on this journey with other doctrines. Here are some to help guide you: God loves me unconditionally, I am a child of God, I am forgiven, the truth has set me free, God’s grace is enough. I hope this journey leads to much self reflection and internal growth, much like it has for me lately.