We all have opinions about many different theological issues: eschatology, soteriology, ecclesiology, baptism, the sacraments, and so on, but what do those opinions amount to? Well, if they don’t affect the way that we exercise our Christian walk then I would say they don’t amount to much. I would actually go even farther to say that if our lives don’t reflect those stated beliefs then we may not really believe those things at all.
If we say that we believe God desires for us to care for those in need, yet we don’t do it then we have to ask, “do I really believe this?” If the answer to this is “yes, I do believe that God wants me to care for widows and orphans,” but I still don’t do it then maybe there is something else within my stated beliefs that I don’t really believe. Maybe I don’t believe that it is important to obey God because I don’t really believe that there is a greater reward for me than my material possessions that I have right now and am unwilling to give up.
I think that is where it really comes down. That is where I struggle in my daily decisions: I don’t always believe that following God is better than not following Him. Why else would I prefer not to obey if, as I say, I believe that His rewards are greater than the rewards of my sinful selfish actions. It is a simple process: I am presented with options, I weigh the outcome of each option, I decide which outcome I would prefer and make my choice. Now, if I really believe, as I state, that the rewards of obedience to God are the greatest possible rewards, then the choice would be simply a matter of asking which option glorifies God, is an act of obedience to God, or fulfills God’s desire for His followers. Sometimes that question is difficult, but many times it is easy, yet I still choose in opposition to it. At that point it is clear that I prefer the outcome of the option that is in opposition to my stated Theology, and at that point my Real Theology is made clear.
Stated beliefs are good as long as they reflect our true beliefs, and when our actions contradict our stated beliefs it may be worthwhile to ask ourselves what we truly believe, what our real Theology is.