A collection of ingredients lay scattered on the countertop; the recipe stands dutifully nearby. These items I've dug out of the pantry, on their own have distinct tastes and flavours, but when pulled together, in the right order and with the right process, result in a taste unlike each element on it's own.
The ingredients of our faith are our beliefs. The beautifully specific doctrines set out in scripture, about God, the Bible, creation, the church - truths many of us have grown up knowing and believing.
Foundational truths aren't limited to head knowledge, but for gathering together, processed in our hearts, to result in a confident display of outward actions as an overflow into our everyday life.
Our beliefs - our theology - are meant to be lived out.
James reminds us, "be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like" (Jam 1:22-24). It's the power of the Word to enlighten us and influence our choices, our relationships, and the desires of our heart.
But sometimes it's hard to figure out, isn't it? My beliefs impact my life, my real life - the one that's trying to fill little bellies, build connection in my marriage, and bear fruit in ministry. Putting the pieces together can be hard, as our lives unfold in real-time.
Here's where great resources can help us!
In "Do You Believe? 12 Historic Doctrines to Change Your Everyday Life," Paul David Tripp shows us very practically how what we believe changes our lives by highlighting the doctrines of scripture, of God, creation, sin, sanctification (and more). He takes a chapter to identify core beliefs about one topic, then follows with a chapter on how it relates our daily life.
He teaches us about the doctrine of God, defining it with these words:"God's glory is the greatness, beauty, and perfection of all that he is." Therefore, we're reminded that "because God is glorious, life is one big glory war." So no longer is our sin something we do against ourselves, it's an act of glorifying something other than the Lord. Because God is glorious, we find comfort that he never changes and humility in how it exposes our weaknesses. We discover his grace as he speaks, as we tune our heart daily to his Word, inviting us into relationship with him.
One of our biggest challenges in the Christian life, is the practice of living out what we believe - and discovering how our beliefs shape what we do. Truth be told, there's often a dichotomy that exists in many of us between what we say we believe and what we do. Pieces of this is our growing in sanctification toward the likeness of Christ. Sometimes along the journey, we can use tools and resources to help us learn and understand biblical truths, with practical ways to apply them - the sweet result.
I probably went my whole growing up life in church without hearing - or perhaps remembering - the words doctrine or theology. Yet, it came through in the catechism we studied before baptism, and in the preaching Sunday mornings.
If you're looking for a resource that provides you an overview of historic doctrines of the Christian faith and practical ways these truths impact your daily life, I'd say this is the one for you!! It's not a short book, but it's written in an accessible way for the regular believer to read and understand.
# of pages:400 pages
Level of Difficulty: Easy (it's written for the average person, but it'll take some time and effort)
My Rating: 5 stars!!
*A big thanks to Netgalley and Crossway for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review!