Become What You Believe
Eugene Peterson has a striking translation of an account in Matthew chapter 9 of two blind men who come to Jesus for healing. Jesus asks them, “Do you really believe I can do this?” They answer, “Why yes, Master.” So Jesus touches their eyes and says something striking to them. He says, “Become what you believe.” Other translations render that, “Let it be to you according to your faith.” I had always translated that in my mind simply as, “Let it be done.” Peterson captures something huge with his rendering.
Become what you believe. Every day I am becoming what I believe. My belief determines my vision of the world and my vision of the world determines my attitudes and my attitudes determine my feelings and my feelings ultimately determine much of what I do and what I do determines what consequences and/or benefits come back to me in this life. Right now, even as I type, I am becoming what I believe. I become what I believe as I make decisions about ways to invest my money and my time and my talents and passions and gifts. I become what I believe as I choose how to love my wife and kids. I become what I believe as I determine where to go to church and how involved to get there and whether or not to let other people into my world.
Become what you believe. Becoming. It’s the great thing so few are interested in. Everyone wants to be something, but very few want to become anything. Most people want to be rich, but few want to watch their spending, save and invest their money wisely, and avoid debt. Everyone wants a great body, but few want to eat properly and go to the gym. Everyone wants a great marriage, but few want to read books, go to counseling and seminars, and invest the time it takes to have a great marriage. Everyone wants respect, but far fewer want to earn the respect of others one day, one decision, at a time.
Become what you believe. Everybody says they believe in something. If it’s true that every day I am becoming what I believe, then I can look into my life and find out what I’m becoming, and that will clue me in to what I REALLY believe. What, or who, am I becoming? Am I becoming more loving, more gracious, more generous, more patient, more humble — that is, more willing to look for and confess my flaws and failures? If so, I really do believe in a God who told me this is the kind of life he wants for me. If not, I do not really believe in him, regardless of what I might say.
Become what you believe. I can say we are becoming what we believe every day, and that is true, but it is not enough. There are some things I can believe but I will never become them without direct intervention from God. These blind men could have believed all day every day that Christ could heal them, yet without his direct intervention, his command, “Become what you believe,” they’d have died blind. Because it’s not JUST about believing. Yes, God wants things to happen in our lives that require faith, but they will also require intervention — God’s direct activity in our lives. This might come through miraculous and instantaneous means. More likely it will come daily, through decisions and actions and relationships.
Becoming what we believe happens through a mysterious combination of us and God. And the thing to always remember is that everyone is going to become what they believe in some basic way. This doesn’t mean that a person who believes he/she will win the lottery will become rich. It actually means something deeper than that. Those who believe they will win the lottery and therefore play every day often tend to believe that the best and biggest moments in their lives are out on the horizon somewhere and not right here in front of our eyes waiting to be seen and experienced; that life will happen to them instead of that they must make life happen. That is the underlying belief and as a result they will probably end up not only disappointed that they do not win the lottery, but disillusioned from having missed the real blessings and beauty of life along the way.
Become what you believe. It’s going to happen, just maybe not in the way you think. And that’s why what you believe matters more than anything.