Monday, April 7, 2008

Life and problems with what we "think" we should believe in

Like Job in the Old Testament, often I find "life" has been the most discouraging thing in my Christian life and I can see that Christianity has an image problem because many people thought that Christianity should be a "system". There are Christians who is strong like Job that are mature in the faith, have experienced the blessings of spiritual growth through good and bad. There were others who were not as strong as Job and they turn their backs on the faith and walk into sin. Why do some Christians fail? Ignorance.

Ignorance is caused by Churches who tries to use sociology, psychology, and feelings that replaces true biblical studies. People often try to avoid biblical doctrines that we need to live in this world. When people come into Church, they expect to "feel" God. The danger effect on salvation, and even more grave is the elevation of a mystical feeling of God’s presence above an intellectual understanding of the Word of God that's being communicated. Often, some people find certain Scripture verses are offensive to their personal beliefs. We tend to believe only what we can see, what we can hear, what we can taste, and what we can feel. If we can’t process it through our senses and through our mind we tend not to believe it. The author of the book of Hebrews explain that "faith is the conviction of things not seen". A strong Chrisitian is prepared to live out our life on the basis of faith regardless of sight, taste, feel and experience. I have not seen God, nor I have seen Christ nor I have seen or feel the Holy Spirit. Faith is believing there is another dimension to life other than those which can be touched, tasted, seen or felt. There is more to life than that. There is also the realm of the spirit, the invisible spiritual kingdom of God. Biblical faith is this: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1-2). Christian faith is not optimism because it breeds false hope. I have learned that by doing of the will of God leaves me no time for disputing about His providence plans and why things are happening around me. God knows what He's doing that I have to learn to trust His will, His power, and His timing when the time is right, and not until then. That's the essence of real faith. God carries out His will in His perfect power and timing. My own growing pains were different than others. Some may be worst than others.

I try to remember that God is always ruling all things to work together for my own good and His purpose. Romans 8:28-29 "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." Life does not discriminate between believers and unbelievers like plane crashes, accidents, illnesses and deaths.

Today, more so than ever, people are looking for "better" proofs of God. Throughout the history of Christianity, Christians and non-Christians alike have criticisms about Christianity. I am one of many Christians who are wise enough to wonder what non-Christians think of us. Christians have responded to many of these criticisms, partially through the field of Christian apologetics. Apologetics is about answering the criticisms, fair or not, of the secular world. Apologetics is mostly for Christians to strengthen their faith. There is a tremendous emphasis on faith and the apologetic while mincing approach to the doctrine of being Christ-like discipleship. Faith sees afar the triumph of Christ and is willing to endure any hardship to share in it. The tragic breakdown is Christians' failure to comprehend the Lordship of Christ in terms of discipleship.

I have a great respect for Christian apologist Josh McDowell who wrote "The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict" that will help readers search document historical evidences of the Christian faith. The entire book (over 750 pages) is laid out in outline form which is a tool for locating supporting "evidence" whenever the need arises. Its a great book for references whenever issues arises for research. I am reminded in Romans 1:20 which said, "The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen. God's evidences are so clear that all (everyone who don't believe) are without excuse." Therefore, that's between each creatures and the Creator (God). I believe that each of us, as an individual, have a responsibility before God, to determine what is true about God and also what is false. What is true about God impacts every aspect of our lives. What is true about God -- not what each of us believe is true, but what is actually true -- determines what happens to us after we die.


Diane J Standiford said...

Amen, brother. I am so sick especially during this election, of people acting(through words) that Republicans and conservatives are God's people and Democrats and liberals are going to you-know-where. They act like THEY INVENTED God and Jesus and spirit. If they truly had faith, then they would want to love more, hate less, and live to make themselves and ALL others better. Hmph! :-)

my life with bipolar disorder said...

Thanks for this great post, Jim. Indeed to know God and His Truths have a great impact on every aspect of our lives. I am still learning to apply God's Truths to my life. I have struggles and difficulties but am finding strength in God and His promises, by His grace. And thanks for your encouragements. The Lord is good. I am having more peace now as I learn to cast my cares upon Him and trust in His sufficiency, and cling on to His promises. To Him be the glory!

whimsical brainpan said...

Another wonderfully insightful post! Thank you.