Throughout my childhood, I believed in the Lord Jesus Christ - but not in the sense of "believing" as the Bible commands.
My lightly held conviction involved an emotional and somewhat mental affinity for the person of Christ and the story of His life, death and resurrection. I rarely attended church as a child, and much of my spiritual awareness revolved around briefly heard sermons on television, movies that depicted the Savior (usually shown during the Christmas season), and bits and pieces from other sources, including an occasional reading of the Bible (mainly the red print of the Lord's words, which I felt must surely be more important than other portions of Scripture).
All this led to a "faith" that had little real influence in my life. Herein lies the issue of genuine Biblical trust, as opposed to the fool's gold of false and inadequate believing. True faith, as fostered in us by exposure to the living and written Word of God, brings life-changing influence in all who "know the grace of God in truth" (Colossians 1:6). Such consequence establishes the glory, supremacy and centrality of the Lord Jesus as the great issue of our existence. "He is thy life" (Deuteronomy 30:20). Our experience and outworking of this foundation is far from perfect, of course, and we often find ourselves seemingly asleep at the wheel regarding the great fact of life as known in Christ. However, the true believer finds that he can never venture far from the hub of his heart because the influence of the Holy Spirit results in contentment - or the lack thereof - always flowing from our response to the Savior in whom we now live, and who lives in us.
If we could quantify or measure genuine happiness, the most joyful person in the world at this moment would be the believer most enveloped in the wonder and significance of the Lord Jesus in all things. Situation, circumstance or condition would not be the issue. If we could likewise find the most miserable person in the world at this moment, it would again be a believer, a truly born again Christian who has forgotten or disbelieved the great and Christ-saturated fact of his life. Again, situation, circumstance or condition would not be the issue. "To live is Christ" declared the Apostle Paul (Philippians 1:21). The influence of the Lord Jesus cannot be escaped by those who genuinely trust Him, either in blessing or in chastening. This is the great and telltale mark of true grace as received by true faith. The Holy Spirit who indwells us is Christ-centered and Christ-motivated (John 15:26; 16:14). He will ensure that our lives forever ebb and flow to the degree we join Him in such determination.
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new."
(II Corinthians 5:17)