Faith definitely has topography. Beliefs are the cartography we utilize to discern the valleys, mountains, rivers, and plains we will experience on our pilgrimage in the vast wilderness of life. Christ as the way is the compass that directs us to true north.
The word belief has its roots in the Anglo-Saxon word, Leif. Leif means to wish. So, when I claim to believe in anything, it is more accurate to say that I wish that or this to be so. Therefore, my beliefs are my spiritual map, delineating where I wish to go and the directions accordingly. These beliefs embody and often define who I am, what I am supposed to think and do, and why I should. My beliefs determine what my values and priorities are. My beliefs provide contexts and prescriptions, determining when I should think about this or do that. Where I need to be in my spiritual path and my relationship with divinity, the cosmos, the planet, all life, and other human beings are outlined in my belief system. All this ultimately address why I am the way I am.
The original language used to redact the Gospels is Koine Greek. When Jesus said, “I am,” he was, in essence, using the Tetragrammaton, אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה, ’ehyeh ’ăšer ’ehyeh, to tell the world that he is the I AM. In other words, he is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In Koine, ’ehyeh, ἐγώ εἰμι Ego eimi, means I exist, I am. This is an accurate word study of this most controversial phrase employed by Jesus to determine who he was. Can it be argued that his beliefs were his wishes to be the Son of God? We can safely deduce from other events in Jesus’ life; there wasn’t anything he would rather be. It is understood that all who intend to follow Jesus are to wish for the same and be sons and daughters of God. There are theological implications, to be sure, but the essence remains the same: to say I am of God.