We’ve heard the saying, “seeing is believing”, as in, you believe in what you see. Things you can touch and feel, things that your eyes can register as real. But who came up with that saying, and why? Because that saying is totally opposite of what the Bible tells us…
Let’s go back in time, specifically to the 17th century where a man named Thomas Fuller exists. He was a man of the English clergy who actually said:
It’s pretty catchy isn’t it? Pretty deep and mystifying, seems like there’s something more to everything. For all our lives, humans have been impressed with things we simply can’t understand or they do understand but it’s because they’re ‘smart’ or educated. Humans have lived off the fumes of entitlement for too long. It’s time we come down and figure our what exactly things mean without our Ph.D.’s and degrees.
So what is Thomas Fuller saying anyways? That whatever we see, we trust. And whatever we can feel takes us further than trust, we rely on it. I know you’re wondering why that’s bad right? Like, why you shouldn’t trust your gut feeling or that ‘bad vibe’ you get when someone comes around. Well let me confuse you further, I am saying that without saying that… I’ll explain.
Yes ma’am… the gut. That saggy thing hanging around your midsection-I’m joking-is actually very important. It’s not just your built in innertube-another joke! Your gut has a connection to the brain that sends signals and all kinds of responses via the vagus nerve.
I won’t science you to death, but I’ll give you some quick points to remember about the vagus nerve which will help you understand this article overall. The vagus nerve is essential to the body’s function. It carries signals from the digestive tract and organs to the brain. Basically, it’s like the internet. When you send a text message (from iPhone to iPhone), it travels the streets of the internet to get to your friend, loved one, whoever’s phone. So, think of the vagus nerve from now on as the internet.
Ok, so why is this important? Because, do we always trust the internet? Let’s go back to college, or any school setting. If you’re like me and hated school, let’s go into the workplace then. See yourself at a desk writing up a document and you click save. You leave over the weekend so that all you have to do on Monday is give it one last read through for grammar and errors… but on Monday, the paper is gone! It didn’t save. We’ve all had that experience, right?
So, I ask you again, do we always trust the internet? The answer is no. Because the internet is usually reliable though, we don’t make too much of a fuss. However, internet cutting out, things not saving properly, files going missing or saved under the wrong name, those are all things that happen on the regular. And, if your gut is like the internet, sending emails, text messages, successfully saving information, but also failing to send emails and texts and save information, can you really trust your gut feeling?
That vagus nerve, dubbed the wanderer nerve, carries an extensive amount of information. It’s job is to send signals without you even knowing. It’s an involuntary function, a good one, but it’s involuntary. So, I’ll ask you, if seeing is believing, how can we trust our gut if we can’t see it and we have no control over the signals it sends to the brain? Is seeing really still believing? Well, let’s hop over to feeling.
Touch. That’s an important sense to have. “Feeling is the truth.” We won’t limit this section just to touch, we’ll include emotions in this section, because, I didn’t mention it before, but that vagus nerve, it’s responsible for some emotional responses too. But not the good kind, just the bad kind, like fear and anxiety. The kind that most people have no control over-is this involuntary?… totally joking!
Feeling is the truth, because if we feel something that means we’re alive. But then we just confuse ourselves because we feel something, but we can’t see it. So how can seeing be believing when you can’t see your feelings? You see a spider and your reaction is to scream, but you can’t see a scream. So are you truly afraid or just excited to see Mr. Eight Legs? You can have a deadline and feel anxious about it, but are you really experiencing anxiety because your shaking your leg? Often people shake their legs, bounce their knees, or do little things like that when they’re cold. So, the whole concept of seeing is believing and feeling being the truth is absolutely wrong, and not just from a Biblical standpoint. Though, the Biblical standpoint is the only one that matters.
See, there’s a problem with feelings. We feel good when it’s sunny out, but we feel dreary when it’s raining. We feel hungry when we chat about food, but we just ate fifteen minutes ago. Some people feel like idiots when they make mistakes, but they’re not an idiot. We’ve even got people who feel like a woman trapped in a man’s body, but they’re clearly not. So, we’ve got all these things we feel, and we let our lives be ruined by our feelings in the moment. Which makes no sense because we’re spirit beings! Everything we do, every part of us is supposed to be ruled by the Spirit, but it can’t be if we’re following earthly feelings.
Being led by the Spirit actually means turning our feelings off. That’s why I said you have to trust your gut and not trust it. It’s not really our gut that we trust, it’s the Holy Spirit within us. He’s the one who whispers the truth to us, warns and tells us to stay away from bad things. For the world, they have a mess of confusion in their gut, but for believers it’s the Holy Spirit.
Feeling like you’re a woman when you’re a man is not right. You need to cry out to God for help. Feeling like sleeping with someone other than your spouse is wrong. You also need to cry out. If we turn our feelings off, and let God lead us through the Holy Spirit, well then we’ll be amazing. We wouldn’t be cheaters, or homosexuals, or liars. We’d make God proud. We’d please Him, because we know that it’s better to believe and trust that God is going to bring us out, versus letting ourselves fall prey to sin. Sin starts with the eyes and lingers in the mind until we act. That’s why faith pleases God, because what we cannot see with our eyes, dwells in our minds and our hearts, and we believe.
The Real Topic: Faith
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.Hebrews 11:1
I bet you didn’t know this article was about faith. Well, surprise, it is! I wanted to break down to you why that long standing quote is a bad one. Seeing is not believing. Believing, having faith, totally trusting God, cannot be seen. Yet, our faith, our trust, something that only we can have but cannot see, is the evidence of things not seen.
What that means is, our faith proves that God is real. Who believes in things that aren’t real? Crazy people and confused people. But if you believe in God, then that makes Him real. Our faith is the evidence of what is not seen. It is the proof of the things that are not physically here. And isn’t it funny, that even our faith cannot be seen? A crucifix doesn’t mean you believe. A bumper sticker doesn’t mean you have faith. Tears don’t always mean anything more than guilt, not repentance. But faith… something we have in our hearts, something within us, is the evidence of God. Because our God who sees in secret, who is hidden from the world, sees faith that is practiced.
You’ve made it to the end just to find out that seeing is not believing, and feeling is not the truth. I’ll leave you with two things: the first is a word from our sweet Savior, Jesus.
So there’s a blessing tied to our faith, and that’s being gifted with whatever we’re believing God for, and an eternal inheritance. The final thing I want to leave you with is my own rendition of that infamous quote from Thomas Fuller:
Seeing is NOT believing, and the unction of the Spirit is truth.