My family and I recently saw a movie in theaters, about a news reporter, who set out to disprove the legitimacy of Christ and Christianity, through all researchable facts and investigative scientific methods. The movie, The Case for Christ, was based upon a book by the same name, written by Lee Strobel who was this reporter. He, even though he struggled against all available facts with extreme prejudice, became a Christian himself. The movie did a good job at dismantling some common objections to Christ and reasons to resist living in relationship to Him, and I enjoyed it a lot.
Considering Mr. Strobel's conversion, addressed contrasts between his and my own. While I never went through an investigation as thorough as his, my personal life was quite different, still both of us arrived at the need to go to something deeper than a hunt for physical facts, coming to trust in God even when God's way seemed to be very different to the world's way of thinking.
Truly, I do believe God's way often seems at variance to the world's way. However I believe God's way is forward thinking and it's others that have things backward. It's one thing to believe Jesus is who He says He is, from scripture and from the verifiable facts, it's another to trust Him with your life.
In “A.D. 33”, a novel I've been reading, author Ted Dekker pointed out that belief about God, and belief in God, are two very different things. As the Bible puts it, Jesus said [maybe 'One of Jesus Disciple's said'], “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder.” (James 2:19 NIV).
Clearly then, belief about God, doesn't make one a Christian.
Many local churches are familiar with either me or my family through: attendance in their Sunday services, as a regular or visitor; Vacation Bible School; AWANA; or ecumenical events. As is the limitation of others to convey a greater reality on any subject, I was steeped in knowledge about God from the day I was born, but as I grew older, I grew to know God personally, individually. Yet I believe the point where I truly became a Christian is, not when I moved from knowledge about God to knowing Him personally, but rather, when I moved from knowing Him personally to knowing God in a loving relationship. Even in “secular” life, we know that: knowing about a person, knowing a person personally, and loving a person, are three entirely different things.
So what brought me to wanting to believe in Jesus? A personal experience, with a God I already knew, letting me know, the longing for meaning I felt in my heart, could not be satisfied by anything or anyone, earthly; and that there was much more, all meant to be satisfied by God alone. This is what Evangelical Christians often call “the born again experience”; the difference between religion for religion's sake, and a true love relationship with the Creator.
But neither, well produced movies, nor my story, will be enough on their own for you to believe in Jesus Christ. So what does it take? A person has to be willing to believe. God is a gentleman, and He won't force you to believe in Him. Even if some of His children have mistakenly been a little pushy with you in your past, just know, God himself operates, differently.
Imagine, for a minute, I told you Timbits were an amazing treat. If you've never tried Timbits, you could take my word for it; but simply trusting me, and never trying a Timbit for yourself, would not be conclusive.
I could even break down the scientific facts about the ingredients of a Timbit, and their interaction with your taste buds, but this wouldn't 'prove' to you they taste good.
While many Bible teachers caution against basing your entire knowledge of God on 'experiences', a relationship with 'The Creator' is quite a real experience and shouldn't be discounted. To believe, one must truly experience the Holy Spirit at work in them, the way He truely is.
In a mature relationship, how many of us have a good experience when we seek to control how others behave. This is tantamount to remaking them in our preference, and reducing them to a mere reflection of our own desires. Unfortunately, this is what most of us try to do to an Almighty God, and consequently why we don't know Him as He is.
So if you're willing to believe, then, “Taste and see that the LORD is good” (Psalm 34:8 NIV). God bless!
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