Psychologist Leon Festinger reached the conclusion that we believe what we do more than we do what we believe. That is, if you do something enough you come to believe it. This principle runs counter to schooling, which focuses on enabling students to believe a truth first. But “cognitive dissonance” dictates that we cannot continue to do something and persist in believing it’s wrong. Instead, we tend to rationalize: Oh, it’s okay this once. Everybody does it anyway. Nobody will get hurt.
That’s why it’s so important to make a habit of doing the right things. It’s also why teenagers can sit unmoved through 60 sermons on the importance of Christian service, yet one mission trip changes their entire outlook. They come to believe it by doing it.
Naturally, Jesus understood this basic law of the human mind when He said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21)”
Our “treasure” is our time, our assets and our energies. Wherever we choose to invest ourselves, we trust the deposit. As Fred Smith notes,
“God is basically interested not in our money but in our maturity. Some people try to substitute service for giving, while others give to avoid serving. Neither one works; both are required for Christian maturity. That’s why if you show me your calendar and your checkbook, I can write your biography. I will know how you spend your time and your money, and that constitutes your treasure.”
Our outlook is constructed one action and one thought at a time, yet the accrued results can be beyond comprehension. In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis comments,
“Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of.”
Lord, help me to glorify You in all that I do. Amen.