There are two kinds of people filling our churches. Both think they’re faithful Christians.

The User believes God exists for them. They don’t say that, of course, but when it comes right down to it, his purpose (and his ultimate use in their lives) stems from his ability to help them live better, happier, more productive lives. They believe God wants nothing more than to help them have a good day.

The Believer knows they exist for God. Their purpose is to know, love, trust, and serve God’s greater purposes in the world through faith in Jesus Christ. They want nothing more than God’s will to be done, his kingdom to come, on earth as it is in heaven, for his glory.

How can you figure out if you’re a User or a Believer? Ask yourself these questions and be brutally honest with your answers:

  • Do you spend more time asking God to bless you or to help you to be a blessing?
  • What annoys you more: When God doesn’t do what you want, or when you don’t do what God wants?
  • Would you rather be successful or fruitful?
  • Do you see pain and suffering in your life as something God should fix as soon as possible? Or do you embrace it as a difficult but necessary part of growing up in your faith?
  • Do you believe life should always play out fairly and clearly, or do you accept the painful mystery of faith in a fallen world?
  • Do you pray, read your Bible, and do Christian stuff to please God so he’ll bless you? Or do you know God is already pleased with you and focus on enjoying the blessings he’s already given?
  • Do you spend more time asking God for stuff or worshipping him?
  • Do you give God the cold shoulder when he ‘lets you down?’ Or do you bring your questions and disappointments to him when life gets confusing?
  • Would you walk away from God if he never answered another prayer? Or are you so thankful for Jesus and his sacrifice that if he never did another thing for you it would still be enough?

Truthfully, all of us are a combination of both User and Believer. I sure am. But think of the struggles you’ve had with your faith. How many of them stem from this one, defining issue:

Does God exist for me, or do I exist for God?

Be real with yourself: When life gets weird, is your frustration level more typical of a User or a Believer?

If you discover you’re actually a User, the solution is simple (though not easy): “In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord” (I Peter 3:15). The ‘not easy’ part involves getting down off the throne whenever you find yourself sitting there instead of Jesus.

Your turn: How do you personally know when you’re ‘Using’ or ‘Believing?’