How Simple Belief Rescues Our Souls (Hebrews Bible Study: Week 3)

How Simple Belief Rescues Our Souls (Hebrews Bible Study_ Week 3)

I can’t believe it’s already Tuesday again! Happy Hebrews Summer Bible Study, my friends.

 

Grab some coffee (or the beverage of your choice), and come sit outside with me and as all of us study the scriptures together.

 

If you’re new, you’re welcome to hop right in where we are now! You don’t have to have done the first two weeks if you haven’t done them yet, but of course it’ll only help and give you a chance to get a feel for what we’re doing here.

Continue reading “How Simple Belief Rescues Our Souls (Hebrews Bible Study: Week 3)”

4 Truths About Doubts and Questions (and why they’re not as bad as you think)

4 Truths About Doubts and Questions

 

I’ve been wrestling with some tough questions these past few months. In this post, I’m not going to try to answer them, because I know I don’t have all the answers. However, I’d like to present some truths regarding what doubts are and how we can deal with them.

 

  1. You are not alone in your questioning.

If you were to ask everyone about whether they believed everything they were expected to, you’d be surprised at their answers. I promise, as much as we can know the answers, it’s not always easy to believe them. So before we try to hide that we can question aspects of our faith – for example, “Is God really for me? Is He really good? Am I really never alone?” – we should know that there are, in fact, other people in the world like us that question the same things.

 

However, that doesn’t necessarily make the doubts right – it just means that other people wonder the same things as us. If two people speculate that the grass is red and the sky is yellow, does that make them right? Absolutely not. They’re just confused together.

 

Similarly, when we doubt and realize that other people think the same way we do, that’s a good thing because we can relate to others. But when we doubt and conclude that because someone else agrees with us, the voices of doubt must be right, we’re looking at it from the wrong perspective. Questioning with others lets us breathe in the fact that others are like us, and not that we’re automatically correct. This leads into my next point.

 

  1. Doubting is not a sin.

Doubt isn’t wrong, and questioning isn’t sinful. What doubts can do is lead us to discover what really is right. Finding support in others with similar doubts is a good thing because it allows us to look for answers alongside like-minded people. Doubting isn’t wrong in and of itself. However, if we stay in a point of skepticism, we can stunt out spiritual growth. This, however, can be resolved through the following point:

 

  1. Times of questioning should be utilized to help us find answers.

Instead of shoving down those voices in your head, address them. If I’m doubting whether God loves me because something terrible has happened to me, I shouldn’t try to deny that. Instead, I should go to the Bible and find the truth for myself.

For instance, look at Romans 8:37-39.

 

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

While I love this passage, and it tells me about the love of God, I want to be shown.

 

So let’s look at John 3:16.

 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

 

In this, my (hypothetical) doubt of God’s love slowly diminishes. When I can look to the Bible and see clear proof that I am loved, as much as doubts can still stay, it’s a little easier to believe that I really am loved. I don’t mean that the Bible is the end-all-be-all of doubt. I know that we can read the Bible for years and still not fully believe it. Trust me, the Bible doesn’t make all our doubts go away, but our doubts do not undermine the truth of God.

 

  1. God does not expect us to live in blind faith.

Christianity isn’t about believing crazy “facts” that we pretend make sense. It’s about believing a rather reasonable truth – that God created the world, gave us free will, and we chose sin; because of our sin, He sent His Son to forgive us of our sin by dying and rising from the dead, and by believing that He was the perfect sacrifice for us, the only One who could pay the price for our sin, we are saved.

 

But He gives us the Bible and He gives us the Holy Spirit. He will reveal Himself to us when we seek Him, and gives us the proof of Jesus on earth for us. He doesn’t leave us to wander in the dark; He wants us to know Him. He wants us to trust Him.

 

It’s normal for us to encounter questions in our faith. It’s healthy to question in order to find out what truth is. However, we cannot live in a state of unbelief. Belief is the center of our faith, and faith is not possible if we stay cynical or skeptical.

 

In Mark 9, we read about a boy with an unclean spirit who is brought to Jesus to be healed. Let’s read a little bit of that passage.

 

Mark 9:21-24

And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!

 

When we doubt, instead of giving into skepticism, let us dig for truth and exclaim, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

 

Instead of letting go of our faith, let us find the answers to our questions, and seek God to help us believe them.

 

*aj

Knowledge and Belief: From The Head To The Heart

Waves in Ocean

My head knows, but my heart doesn’t always accept it.

Yes, oh yes, that’s how a lot of my life goes.

I know the truth. I know it.

But sometimes, I have a hard time believing.

There’s a saying that goes something like, “The eighteen inches between the head and the heart are the most dangerous eighteen inches in the world.”

Or something.

The point being, it’s not enough to just know something. It’s imperative that it’s also believed.

See, in my head, I know that God is good. Great, in fact. I know that He has great plans for me, and that He will never leave me or forsake me, and that I’m never alone, and that He has everything under control, and that I don’t need to worry.

I know all this. I really do.

But do I actually believe it?

Now here, I’m not trying to second-guess myself or anything like that. I’m not trying to “prove” that I believe and not just know, or “try to be better,” or whatever.

But it’s definitely more reassuring when I can believe something and not just know it.

For example, I can spout out facts all day long about how strong a trapeze is, and how there’s a totally-safe net under it, and how I have a tight harness, and how 105% secure I am on that trapeze. But it’s not very reassuring if I’m asked to get up there and don’t believe that I’m actually safe.

Right?

Because unless I believe something in my heart, pure and raw knowledge alone won’t get me to trust God with my life.

See, I know that God is good. Like I said. Like it says in the Bible. I know that He will take care of me, and I don’t need to worry.

But when the pressure turns on, and I have to trust God and trust Him alone, it’s hard. It’s hard to bring what I know in my head to be what I believe in my heart.

And every day I have a choice.

Because hard things happen, and life breaks us, and tears jump out of our eyes, and Satan stabs away our joy, we have a choice.

Do we jump on the trapeze in surrender and trust, or shrink back and spout out facts that we’ll never put into practice?

I’m going with the former.

I heard another quote, and it’s like this.

“Surrendering to God isn’t losing or giving up. It’s winning, because once we surrender to God, we have transferred to the ‘right’ side and we have already won.”

God has fought for our souls, and we have proof that He is good.

The Cross has proven to us that the love of God is great enough for us, that the grace of God is enough to carry us through it all, that the forgiveness of God is enough to change us from the inside out, that the peace of God is great enough to comfort us in terrible times of despair, and that the mercy of God was made manifest in the torture of His own Son – because of His compassionate and loving heart.

Doubts will creep in, and waves will crash down on me, and despair will plague me, and there will be times when I question if God is really enough. Times will come when I can’t see God past the cloud of worldliness. There are going to be days when I can’t feel the goodness of God, and it feels like Satan is winning.

But when I look at the Cross, it is the most powerful thing. The Cross is greater than all my doubts, insecurities, faithlessness, and hopelessness, for death itself has been defeated by what Jesus has done on the Cross for me.

The step of getting what I know from my head to my heart is a mere eighteen inches, albeit a very important eighteen inches.

The Cross is where knowledge turns to belief. There is proof.

Romans 5:8

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God loved us from the very beginning, but He proved it by sending His Son to save us.

Once we accept the Cross, there is a bridge between the head and the heart.

I pray that we would all accept the bridge, for it’s never worth it to live in unbelief!

*aj