Do you know what you believe?
I once heard a story about a church who recited the Apostles Creed every Sunday. This is common practice in many churches, but this congregation always stood up and faced the north wall of the sanctuary when they recited it. Weird right? No one knew why they did it that way. One new young church member wanted to find out so he began to ask around, "Why do we always turn and face the wall when we say the Apostles Creed?" No one could answer. Finally, the young man found the oldest living member of the church and she knew the answer. "When we first built this sanctuary, we posted the words to the Creed on the north wall. So every Sunday we'd stand up and read it. The words came down decades ago. Now we all just turn to the left when we say the Creed because that's how we always did it."
The Christian who doesn't know the basic beliefs of Christianity is like a member of that church. They're there doing the right thing, but they don't have any idea what it's all about. Unfortunately this is common. Christians are increasingly theologically ignorant. To some this may not seem like a big problem. After all, theology is for the academics right? As long as they know what they're talking about the rest of us don't need to worry about it. Wrong. There a three huge problems with not knowing what you believe.
You are a theologian
Everyone does theology. You don't even know you're doing it, but you do it every day. Why? Because you were created to be a theologian. Theology is knowledge of God. And all people were created to know God. You are a believing being. Christian or not you do have a theological worldview. Even atheism is a theological worldview. And this world is full of ungodly theologies. If you don't have a correct Christian theology, the likelihood of you adopting an incorrect theology is great! And it will happen without you even realizing it. You were created to theologize. But you're also a sinner with a tendency to theologize wrongly. So God has revealed himself and given you a correct view of who he is. Clinging to that revelation is key to keeping right belief about God.
God cares how you think about him
Imagine if I didn't know my wife's favorite food, or her birthday, or her love language, or life story? Of course I do know this stuff, but what if I didn't. I may have a relationship with her, but if I didn't know this stuff you wouldn't say that I know her very well. And she certainly wouldn't call our relationship intimate. Knowing facts about who someone is isn't all there is to knowing them (or else I could say I was personal friends with Michael Jordan). But you don't know someone if you don't know that stuff about them. God wants a personal relationship with you. But he has no interest in a relationship where you're ignorant of the things he's revealed about himself. Jesus told us to love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind (Matt. 22:37). What we think about God is of eternal importance.
Only right belief will lead to right living
A.W. Tozer writes, "What comes to our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us." Why is it so important? Because of the way we are designed (to know God), our belief about God defines who we are. The only way to find a correct perspective on who you are is to find a correct perspective on who God is. And our lives are the outflowing of who we are, our character and what motivates us. Wrong belief will result in wrong behavior. You'd have to be out of your mind to really believe Jesus was the Savior and King and not follow him. That would be suicide! But that's exactly what is going on when we sin. It's a failure to believe correctly about God that results in acting on an incorrect theology. If we build a correct belief about God, our life will start to look like he designed it to look.
Need some help with the basic truths of Christianity? Listen to the "What We Believe" series on our podcast! The first episode goes up January 20, 2020.