F E A R O F B E L I E F
I think that the idea of committing the entirety of your life to something that you cannot objectively know or even see is a terrifying idea to many individuals who are considering the possibility of committing their lives to being a follower of Christ - or a Christian.
For those who would consider themselves to be Christian -- what is it that gives you the confidence and hope in what you believe in to be true?
For those of us who do not yet believe, what is it about committing yourself to the life of faith that causes fear or anxiety?
What are some questions that you have that prevent you from taking that final step toward believing and following Christ?
/ F E A R O F R E L I G I O N /
In part, the fear of believing is tied toward the negative image that has been painted of religion.
In part this is founded upon the reality that horrific things have been done by people in the name of religion, or in the name of God.
We do not want to be seen as some kind of self-righteous hypocrit or someone disconnected from reality -- believing in the spiritual world, instead of the felt world around us.
Why would I want to be a part of something so broken, so marked historically by awful actions and reactions?
/ W H A T P R O O F ? /
The second big reason why I think so many of us have a fear of believing, is the lack of solid, quantifiable evidence in the claims that are made by Christians.
How do we know that God created the world? How do we know that Jesus is the Son of God? How do we know that we aren’t just going to turn to dust when we die?
The reality is that nothing gives us the answers to all of life’s questions -- no matter what field of study you are in, you will always find a question without an answer.
Science cannot answer 'why' questions - only 'how' questions.
It is important to acknowledge that no one understanding of the world has all of the answers.
So to expect that Christianity has an exact answer for all of life’s questions is an unrealistic expectation.
But to expect that Christianity can help you to understand why certain things might happen, or how to better engage them as a person of faith -- that must be expected!
/ D O U B T , D O U B T , D O U B T /
Read: John 20:24-29
Another hurdle in becoming a Christian, or coming to believe in something more than yourself is doubt.
Often we think of doubt as being the enemy of belief.
I think that doubt encourages us to always be asking questions, digging deeper, and trying to find answers to the questions that our hearts yearn for.
Doubt can be good for us!
Doubt should not be what prevents us from taking the leap of belief -- Thomas doubted, but Christ still spoke into his life.
/ W H A T D O E S I T M E A N T O B E L I E V E ? /
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see - Hebrews 11:1
If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. - Romans 10:9-10
It is believing that Jesus is the Son of God, sent for you. It is believing that even though the world is broken, even though we are stuck in our own bad decisions, even though we do not seem to have hope -- through faith in God, we are forgiven, we are loved, and we are given a hope that life is not meaningless.
Being ‘saved’ is acknowledging who you are and what Christ has done for you.
It is a turning of your life toward a purpose outside of our own physical desires.
It is an acceptance of the good news that at no cost to you, God sent his one and only Son to die on behalf of us -- even though we did not and do not deserve it. Jesus died for you. He loves you. He knows you. And He is calling you to follow Him.
/ J O H N 3:16 /
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”
/ D E S E R V E D /
But Zack, I am not a good, tidy, smiley Christian. I swear, I make bad choices, I do things that I know I should not do. I do not deserve what Christ has done for me. I am too broken, I am too messed up.
"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5:6-8
/ C H O O S I N G F A I T H /
So maybe you are here today and you feel that God is tugging on your heart, that you would like to become a Christian.
You aren’t sure how, or what this is going to look like, but you know that you want to make God the center of your life - a compass, a support system, strength to move forward in a messy world = hope and love.
Well today, you can do that. Begin by praying this prayer. And then privately message me and we can continue to talk about the next steps together.
It is not important how we come to Christ, but that we come.
Do not let our doubts, our fears, or our human hesitations prevent us from living the fullest life that we can live in and through a God who created us, who knows us, who loves us, and who is calling us back to a life in Him.
/ K E E P S E E K I N G /
Maybe you are not there yet. Maybe you still have questions and struggles.
Do not stop participating in groups like this.
Keep asking questions, talking to friends, joining Bible studies -- praying and asking God to show Himself to you.
If you want a Bible, I will Amazon one to your house. If you have difficult questions, let’s talk.
Believing can feel like a scary or overwhelming leap, but I believe that it is the most freeing, life-altering decision you could ever make.