You have strong opinions about life, God, politics, and the world around you. Opinions about what’s true and false, good and bad, beautiful and ugly. These are your beliefs and they shape who you are and how you live. But here’s an important question:
Do you really believe that?
Some people haven’t given much thought to their beliefs. They haven’t considered how their parents, friends, teachers, co-workers, etc. have influenced the way they think.
On the other hand, some folks have spent tons of time looking at what they believe and why. They don’t like being told what to believe and aren’t about to swallow the beliefs they grew up with.
But whether your beliefs are the result of time spent in deep thought or they’re just a happy accident, it’s important to examine them from time to time.
If you’re growing as a human being and as a disciple of Jesus—if you’re become wiser and more experienced—shouldn’t your beliefs be growing, too?
Politicians are often condemned for “flip-flopping” or “evolving” on certain issues. Yes, they sometimes do so for political gain, but those who never change positions concern me even more.
Disciples of Jesus should never stop learning and growing—and that means your beliefs will have to grow, too.
6 Signs That A Belief Needs To Change
Should you constantly be second-guessing everything you believe? Of course not. That kind of non-stop questioning will only undermine your convictions and stifle your growth.
But every so often you should take an honest look at the things you believe—and consider these 6 warning signs in the process. They might indicate a belief that needs to “evolve.”
1. You Regularly Feel the Need to Defend Yourself
If you’re constantly under pressure to defend a belief, there’s a very good chance that it has some gaps—or is completely off base!
Granted, you sometimes need to make a case for what you believe in. But if you’re regularly on the defensive, you might want to take a closer look.
Especially if you’re defending it from all sides.
2. You Don’t Understand Opposing Viewpoints
It’s important to understand what you believe. But it’s impossible to do so if you’re clueless about the alternatives.
As an example, far too many Bible prophecy “experts” teach a single point of view yet misunderstand—and then misrepresent—all other views.
There’s really nothing “expert” about that at all.
If you’re going to understand what you believe, you need to consider opposing views as well. To do otherwise is to give an answer before you’ve even heard the question.
3. How You Act Contradicts What You Say
- You travel the world on a private jet to give lectures on how carbon emissions are destroying the planet.
- You ignore the hungry and homeless people in your community as you drive your high-dollar SUV to church every week.
- You flog yourself to internet porn at home and rant about the redefinition of marriage at work.
What you say you believe may very well be true. You just don’t believe it.
4. It Doesn’t Represent the Bible Fairly
Cherry-picking verses from the Bible to support a point of view is all too common. And while you may not intend to twist what it says, your belief could still be totally whacked out.
Some people have used 1 Samuel 18:1 to argue for a same-sex relationship between David and Jonathan. But they fail to give the rest of their story a fair shake. It’s lazy at best and dishonest at worst.
What you believe has to make sense of the Bible as a whole, not just a verse here and there. You have to make sure a single tree isn’t blocking your view of the whole forest.
5. You Have an Answer for Every Challenge
At first blush, this may seem like it supports what you believe—but hold on a second. If there’s not a single question that gives you pause, you may be a little too confident.
Like point number 2 above, when you think you have all the answers, it often means you don’t understand all the questions.
Be careful not to confuse confidence with arrogance.
6. It Doesn’t Further Your Ability to Love
The Bible tells us that God is love personified—in other words, he is love. So if the things you believe don’t cause you to increasingly love God and people, that’s a problem.
Differing beliefs often lead to fights, even in the church—which is crazy when you think about it. If your beliefs lead to fighting instead of love, it’s time to check yourself.
That’s one of the best definitions of fundamentalism I’ve heard! If what you believe about God is true, more love should be the result. Not less.
What you believe matters a great deal, but your beliefs will necessarily change over time. With God’s help and a little humility on your part, you can change your mind for the better.