(NOTE: I think I need to address that I am not interested in getting into any spiritual debates here. This is more for my personal benefit and my testimony than a soapbox to get into arguments as to who’s right and who’s wrong. If you’re able to benefit from this, great. If not, okay. I was just thinking about this yesterday and felt like I needed to have written evidence of it.)
I was thinking yesterday about why exactly I believe in God. Maybe it has something to do with all the students that are coming back and knowing how few of them have a personal relationship with Christ. And I got to thinking, what would happen if I had a discussion with one of them about why I believe what I do. What would I say? Where would I start?
First, I guess my belief system needs to be addressed. Basically, what do I believe?
I believe that Jesus Christ was God’s Son who came down to Earth to free us from sinful slavery. His sacrifice on the cross allows us to have a personal, intimate relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Because of this belief, this knowledge, I have been granted the best gift of all: eternal salvation and the joy of knowing that one day, I will see Jesus and will be able to continually worship Him. However, while I am here on Earth, I will spend my days praying and talking with Him, reading His Word, and trying to live by example to show others what Jesus has done for me: given me peace and joy and life.
Okay, since that’s out of the way – why do I believe this?
I thought about some physical examples that I’ve seen – things that are a little unsettling and which I know without a shadow of a doubt that God had a hand in. However, I did not want to include them. Why? Because faith is the evidence of things unseen (Hebrews 11:1).
1. First, we have the Bible. There are two roads to look at here – you either take the Bible as truth, spoken by God to man, or you take it as a storybook, no different than Grimm’s Fairy Tales. I believe the Bible is Truth, therefore every word in there is Truth. I believe that it is literal, except when directly said otherwise. I believe water covered the Earth. I believe Jonah got swallowed by a huge fish. I believe Jesus raised people from the dead. I believe Paul was shipwrecked AND snake-bitten on the same day. I believe God created man and woman. Heck, I believe a snake talked. Why? Because the Bible said so. And, going back to the first statement, if the Scriptures say so, either the Bible is Truth, or the Bible is fairy tales.
2. My own inner peace. The world is crazy right now, you know? Heck, I just listened to a one-hour speech by my boss about how bad the economic crisis is and how it will affect my workplace. Yet thousands of dollars are STILL being doled out to Super Duper University in hopes that one day things will get better. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. I don’t hold a karmatic assumption that just because I do good means I’ll get good things. That’s just not the way life works. I could be the most devout Christian who praised God day in and day out, but things may just go badly. As Mark Driscoll said, we worship a homeless man who had no money and who got murdered, yet some people still think that “good” Christians are supposed to be rich, wealthy, and happy. How does that work?? I may lose my job next year. I may get very ill next year. Life may not go the way I want it to. It often doesn’t. But I’m here for a greater cause. My life is not to serve me. My life is to serve Christ. And through Him, I have a peace that goes beyond anything this world can throw at me. Am I worried about bills? Often. Do I stress out to the point of panic about work and school? Absolutely. But deep in my heart, in my soul, I know this is beyond me and that God LOVES ME and will take care of me. It may not be the way I want to be taken care of, but if I’m paying attention to my Father’s wishes and His name is being glorified, how can I not be at peace?
3. My conscience. The Holy Spirit convicts me frequently. “You know you shouldn’t have said that…You know you shouldn’t have done that…Did you think Jesus appreciated when you did that?” Um…probably not. And it’s not because I’m afraid of “getting caught.” Most of the things I do wrong are things that I would have a hard time getting caught doing. However, it’s knowing that I’ve displeased Jesus that gets me and moves me to repentance. I don’t want to disappoint Him. I want Him to be happy with what I’m doing (then again, on that hand, I have to watch my pride…sigh…). If I were not a Christian, I don’t think I’d have ANY problem doing those little sins that I so love to do. However, since I am…I’m in a constant state of repentance.
Similarly, I want others to be in love with Jesus as well. I want my friends and family to experience what I have. Nothing is certain. I don’t know how I could have gotten through some of the toughest times in my life without a Savior to hold my hand. He’s not my crutch; He’s my God.
4. Watching prayers being answered. Okay, this is not going on the “seen” category mainly because most prayers you don’t really “see” answered. But there are some that I’m just like, “Woooowww…That was incredible.” One HUGE prayer was an attitude adjustment for me. I had someone (let’s just name this person A) who I had a very difficult time loving. My attitude toward this person and in the environment where I would see A would be very poor. And I thought it was A’s fault!! So I started praying about it for around a year. And one day…it’s like a light bulb switched on, and I realized, “Um…maybe my attitude is MY fault.” And it was…The relationship A and I have now is so much different than it was six months ago. And it was all because I prayed for relief from the “A” problem. I received it in an unexpected way and much more – a more joyful me.
5. Because of how I live my life. Any big decision my husband and I make is first done after much prayer. “God, please help us decide if this is the right choice to make. Let either of us feel anxiety if this is not what we should do, but if this is Your will, let us feel peace.” You have NO idea how much this helps.
And that’s that. There are more, I’m sure, but as today is a very busy day, that’s it for now. Time to get back to the grind of work. =)