Saturday, July 5, 2014

Overcoming Doubts: Part 1


   I am like the biggest doubter on the planet! If I was alive during Jesus's time, I would have definitely been the "doubting Thomas" of the group. Doubts are my "thorn in the flesh" so to speak. Although I know God wants me to have faith, He actually uses my doubts to keep me from becoming conceited. It's almost like I walk with a limp, and because of this, I'm forced to lean upon the shoulder of God every day as I learn to trust in His grace. If I had it all together, there would be no need for Jesus. God has used my doubts for His glory and I believe He wants me to use what I've learned about faith to comfort, teach, and encourage others. I want to share with you some of the doubts I've struggled with and the truths that God has revealed to me through His Word and His Spirit. I'll be starting a three-part series regarding different doubts that I've had and how the Lord has helped me to overcome them. I pray you get something out of it and that God will use everything to draw you closer to Him.


                                   "Is God real?"

 

   Man, this has by far been the toughest most consistent doubt I've had since I've truly started seeking God. I think that everyone at one time or another questions the existence of God. It's actually good to ask if God's real because it can ultimately lead us into a relationship with Him. However, it can also keep us from coming to Christ because as Hebrews 11:6 says, we can't come to the Lord without first believing that He exists. I can testify to the existence of God because He has completely transformed my life. It used to be all about me all the time, but God came near and He showed me that He's the only thing worth living for. In the past, I have clearly heard God's voice on several occasions and I continue to hear His whispers everyday through His Spirt and His Word. There are literally countless testimonies of people who have been changed by God and God alone. I believe that perhaps the greatest defense for the existence of God is the changed lives of the people who follow Him.



 "A man with an argument is no match for a man with an experience." -dc Talk


  Consider the very first disciples of Jesus. Ten of the eleven were martyred. Think logically with me for a second. Would these men give up everything and subject themselves to extreme torture and cruelty for something that might have been true? Would they lay down their lives for someone who claimed He would rise from the dead, but didn't? Would they really leave everything behind for a God who didn't even exist? I don't think so. These men touched Jesus. They knew Jesus and saw Him face to face. Thomas touched the wounds on His wrists and His side. 500 people claimed they saw Jesus alive after He was crucified. And still today, millions of people claim to see Jesus at work in their lives, and the way they live their lives is the ultimate proof that God exists. Despite all the evidence, a lot of people say that it's just too crazy to be true! Jesus...God's Son? One with God? Crucified, but yet alive? And how can people say that God actually lives inside His followers? That's just impossible! And what kind of God would come to this screwed-up world to sacrifice Himself for sinners that deserve death? I'll be honest, sometimes the gospel is hard to believe. But the thing is, the Bible actually says that the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18)! The bottom line is, God is beyond our understanding. We can't choose not to believe in God based on the fact that we are unable to understand Him. This is because the Bible says that God is far greater than anything we could even imagine! In Ephesians 3, Paul talks about the love of God that "surpasses all knowledge." Simply put, we can't understand God's love. But the thing is, we can't let our inability to understand affect our ability to believe. Check out this section from 1 Corinthians 1 that compares and contrasts the wisdom of man with the wisdom of God:


"18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
    the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength." 

- 1 Corinthians 1:18-25

  Wow, what a passage! Paul states that although the gospel is considered foolishness by those who are perishing, the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom. You can't choose not to believe in God based on the fact that He "doesn't make sense," because the Bible tells us plainly that God doesn't make sense to us. So the argument that God isn't real because His ways aren't logical should be thrown in the garbage. One thing God has taught me through my doubts is that there's no argument against Him that can stand. 

  "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD."

 -Isaiah 55:8


   The thing that drives me crazy is that atheists and evolutionists can't seem to see that it takes faith to believe in their theories. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as believing in something you can't see. Has anyone ever actually seen a human evolve from a monkey? Were we around before time began? No, we weren't. You can believe in evolution if you want, but don't say that it doesn't require faith. The fact is, we can't prove that God is eternal and that He was here before the beginning of time because we weren't there! But we can have faith, we can trust, and we can reasonably believe in God because He's given us His Word and He has confirmed Himself to those who invite Him into their hearts. 


 "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible." -Hebrews 11:3

  Let's go back to the countless testimonies of Christians who, throughout history, have claimed to have been changed by God. Shall we zoom into the life of the apostle Paul? He was Saul before Paul you know. I think we like to shape Paul into the image of this unstoppable, "super Christian," but before God confronted him, Paul was "a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man" (1 Timothy 1:13). He hated Christians and did everything in his power to wipe them off the face of the earth. In fact, he was on his way to go kill some more Christians when all of a sudden, a brilliant light appeared and a voice said, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" Paul went blind and just like that, he was sent on his way to Damascus where he received his sight and began to get acquainted with the apostles. Acts 9:20 says that "at once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." What a testimony! One second, Paul is on a mission to kill the Christian faith and the next, he's preaching the faith he once tried to destroy. How can the transformation in Paul's life be explained without the existence of God? If Jesus didn't rise from the dead, then there's no way that a man who formally believed that Christianity was a big superstition could suddenly just started preaching the exact opposite of what he previously held as true. It's just not reasonable. Obviously, something happened to Paul. Something that was so dramatically life-altering that it even caused Paul to change his name! A personal encounter with Jesus might seem like foolishness to those who have never had one. But for those of us who have experienced the power, presence, and incredible love of Jesus in our lives, there's no denying His existence. We, as Christians, are the proof of God's existence and love! We have the God of the universe living inside us. Let's join together as the body of Christ and allow God to live through us in such a way that the world will see God's life within us.


  "What if you have what somebody needs to find Jesus?" -Carl Lentz



  What if there's something in your story, in your testimony, that can actually play a part in someone's salvation? God can't use a story that you're unwilling to tell. Part of the reason God comforts us in our troubles is so we can share with others how God has brought us through different things (2 Corinthians 1:4). We have to remember that God loves the whole world! He shows no favortism. And He wants to use our testimonies to reveal Himself to those around us. We just have to be willing to take that leap of faith, to line ourselves up with God's will, and to share our story with the people God has surrounded us with. Don't think that, for whatever reason, God can't use your testimony to touch people. He's worked in your life for a reason, and He wants to use you to comfort and encourage those around you. Like I said before, our testimonies are the ultimate proof of God's existence. But if we aren't willing to tell our stories, then what are they really worth?



  "All of you set free by God, tell the world! Tell how he freed you from oppression." 


 -Psalm 107:2 (MSG) 



   Simply put, a lot of people don't believe in Christianity. They don't believe in God and they don't believe that Jesus was the Son of God. But this shouldn't affect us or cause us to change our faith and our stance on what we know to be true. Jesus said that the road to heaven is a narrow one, and He's been showing me how hard it truly is to be a Christian in this world. I think we have a natural tendency to go with the crowd. Everyone wants to be like everyone else, and I think that many people spend their entire lives trying to fit in. But when we put our faith in Christ, we're choosing to walk against the flow of society. We're no longer a part of the worldly culture, and we become one with Christ as we learn to walk according to His commandments by His grace. The world says love your friends and hate your enemies, but Jesus tells us to love our enemies, to bless those who persecute us, and to pray for those who mistreat us (Luke 6:27-28). This is impossible without the love of God in our hearts. Also, a popular belief in the world is that life is all about us and that death 
is the ultimate loss. Philippians 1:21 completely contradicts this statement as Paul says, "For to me, to live is Christ (not me) and to die is gain (not loss)." In addition to all of this, the world and everything in it is completely temporary. Even life is temporary. And we are constantly searching for joy, acceptance, purpose, and satisfaction in the temporary things of this world. The truth is, life can never be what it was always meant to be without God because we were "made by Him and for Him (Colossians 1:16)." That's why it breaks my heart when people reject God because they're rejecting the only One who can give them everything they were created to desire! Jesus is the only thing that's eternal and He needs to be the Rock upon which we stand. Perhaps this is yet another defense for the existence of God. As C.S Lewis says, "If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world." So don't let what other people say influence what you know to be true! Read the Bible and explore Christianity for yourself before you decide if Jesus is the truth. Don't just accept what others are saying without looking at what Scripture says. If you are truly sincere in your search for truth and you seek God with all your heart, He will reveal Himself to you (Jeremiah 29:13). Christian, don't give up! Trust God and keep the faith despite what everyone around you is saying. Jesus said that "in this world we will have trouble." But He tells us to take heart, because He has overcome the world (John 16:33)! "Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all (2 Corinthians 4:17)." God is faithful and although at times you may feel like the only one who wants to please God, that's not the truth. There are countless Christians around the world who are standing with you. And even if you really were the only one on earth who loved God, God would still be with you. "If God is for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31)?" He promises to be with us until the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20). When you grow weak in your faith, lean into His grace and draw strength from His Word. Don't give up!


  "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." -Matthew 7:13-14


  I'll leave you with this amazing video that explains how reasonable the existence of God truly is:

http://vimeo.com/68168798


  I really hope that this post encouraged you in your walk! Love you guys!

2 comments:

  1. Yes our God is real and not far from us and he will rescue us from sin and from wicked life and of the fire of Hell in Jesus precious name and for bloods sake ,hallleujah ,glory to Go,thanks and bless and pray,kiejo sweden

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  2. Overcoming Doubts: Part 1


    Posted by Hannah

    Hello,
    Thanks for your encouragement. The antidote to doubt is Jesus Christ I believe, Why? Well just bringing to mind many of his glorious teachings and parables, I love Jesus because he would never forsake you or give up on you. The wrath of God our Father would say 'cut down that tree, it's unproductive, it bears no fruit, it's useless. Cut it down and cast it on the fire, there are others that need saving!', that's me paraphrasing what I believe God would say to doubters. The wrath of God, sick of man being so unfaithful and disobedient towards him from the time of Adam and Eve. It's finished for man, it's over. However, it's not entirely the abyss for him, in fact there is only one way out of God's judgement, and that's through the help of his son Jesus Christ. Me paraphrasing again, I see Jesus as saying, ok father, the doubter is all but dead, however please give me one more chance to save him/her, don't destroy and chop down that unyielding tree. I will dig around it and fertilize. If next year the doubt hasn't gone, then it is a lost cause.
    I know all analogies break down somewhere, and this one might not be an ideal one, however the point I'm making is Jesus wouldn't give up on you, he would go looking for that lost lamb! Praise the Lord.
    Thanks for your post and giving me the opportunity to share Gospel. www.jesusfather.com

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