How Do You Believe?
John Telgren

In spite of his wife's devotion to Christ which had made her a better wife, Andy remained stubbornly resistant to Christ. He was playfully antagonistic towards the faith and seemed to enjoy mocking the faith of his wife and her Christian friends. He saw no need to go to church or to engage in any of the activities Christians did. After all, he had been successful in his business not thanks to God. Besides, he personally witnessed bad things happening to good people. What kind of God would allow that?

This was the portrait of Andy they gave Troy. Troy arrived with a group of other Christians to help share the Gospel with family, friends, and the community in general. Andy came up in a conversation, and Troy felt compelled to at least try. Perhaps an "outsider" from the congregation might be able to get farther with Andy.

Andy and Troy seemed to hit it off at first. They seemed to enjoy a lot of the same things and had several things in common. Troy was much different than other Christians he had met. Troy seemed to be very down to earth and never talked down to him about God. Troy treated him as a fellow human being, not some inferior outsider. Troy even complimented him on his belief in God. Andy was not an Atheist, he just didn't think it was necessary to do all the stuff that those in his wife's church did. They seemed to go way overboard with their religion.

"Those Christians say they believe in God. I believe in God too. So what's the problem?" asked Andy. "That's great Andy, that you believe in God. I can tell you have a lot of integrity in not denying that all you see didn't just happen by chance," replied Troy. "Yes," said Andy, "I have never denied there is a God. But some of those people in that church keep trying to tell me that I am going to Hell, as if I am some sort of bad criminal or something. I do good, I'm not a bad person. And I believe in God." Andy said. Troy responded, "Andy, the question is not whether you believe in God or not. The questions is HOW do you believe?"

As they engaged in further discussion, Andy began to soften. He hadn't considered any of this before. It was not just about belief, but how you are to believe. Instead of being antagonistic, Andy even began to ask honest questions. Troy, in his down to earth manner, did not lecture Andy, but listened intently to his questions, seeking to understand him, and guided him to find the answers for himself.

After their conversation, Andy read James 2 as Troy recommended. "Even the demons believe, and shudder." This really got Andy to thinking. This passage, along with Troy's assertion, "It's not just about whether you believe or not, but HOW you believe," kept replaying in his mind. He would spend a lot of time considering these words.

Several of the Christians were amazed that Andy was not adversarial or antagonistic like he normally was. Andy even came to church with his wife! Andy seemed to be moving in the right direction. He wasn't ready to commit to anything...yet. But his adversarial stance softened and now he was considering Christianity and what it really means to "believe."