I think we can divide personal beliefs into two categories: confessional and functional. A confessional belief is a belief that a person claims to have. Everyone claims to believe in something. It might be the work of a charity, spreading a message of hope, or feeding the homeless. They might speak out against child slavery, human trafficking, or African genocides.
The fun thing about confessional beliefs is you don’t have to back them up. You can just say you believe anything you want.
Functional beliefs tell the truth. If you want to see what someone believes, watch him or her live life. Do they give time and money to the causes they confessionally believe in?
It’s clear when the answer is yes. You are too busy working on child advocacy or foster care to waste time on internet farms. You forego certain luxuries because you sacrificially gave to support something bigger than yourself.
“Everything we believe, we do.” Derrick Webb
Ultimately, we act on the beliefs we have and do not act on those we only claim. This is the litmus test for belief.
Do you want to be aware of where what you do does not line up with what you say? How can you spend some time today determining where the gaps are between your confessional and functional beliefs?
(I’d love to hear your ideas, either here in the comments or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I am always looking for new ways to look at my life.)
Photo by: colon+right.bracket.