Why Do You Believe?

1 Peter 3:15, apologetics, faithA recent sermon I heard was based around the question “Why should I believe in God?”

If you are reading this blog I hope that you have already answered that question; even so it bears repeating.  Why do you believe in God?

15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear (1 Peter 3:15 NKJV)

If we are to be able to give a defense to everyone who asks us, as 1 Peter 3:15 says, then we need to be very sure about our belief.  We need to have that answer ready at hand, not as a scripted response but as a heartfelt statement of faith.  The world desperately needs men and women who are standing firm on their belief in their savior and are not afraid to verbalize it when called on to do so.

On a personal level, I believe in God because I have experienced His presence and because He has changed me from the inside out.  When I was at my lowest I cried out to Him and He came and found me.  His touch was not physical but it left an unmistakable impression on my soul and since then my desire has been only to serve and to love Him with my whole heart.

I have a personal relationship with Him.  I talk to Him all of the time.  I tell Him about my day, confess my fears, worries and mistakes and thank Him for His goodness.  I ask Him for His blessing and protection and His will to be done in the lives of many.

I gave my heart to Him and in exchange He has given me hope for the future, peace in the face of trials and love for myself and my fellow man.  While I am still far, far from perfect I rejoice in knowing that little by little, He is making me like Him.

That is why I believe.  I am passionate about my defense of the gospel and my hope for all believers is that they would be able to give a similar type of answer to the question “Why do you believe?”  And beyond that, I am of the opinion that all believers should be passionate about their belief and the God who saved them.  Not that we should be bullies or insensitive, because that is not the essence of true love, but that we should be ready to firmly and wisely defend the reasons for our faith.

Then Comes the Moment We Ask

Faith, Belief, LukeThe apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5 NASB)

Following a period of traveling around the countryside and observing Jesus teaching, healing and disrupting many of the prevailing attitudes and opinions of the day, the disciples found themselves dismayed and amazed.

These men were ordinary people who had been leading ordinary lives until they encountered a man named Jesus who called them out of the place they were in and bid them to follow Him.  In most cases, they were not well educated or remarkable.  They simply had enough faith in that moment to recognize that Jesus was someone that they could trust their lives to and that He was sent by God to them.

So began their journey and their education.  They quickly discovered that this man Jesus was like no one else that they had ever encountered.  He had power to heal the sick, to cast out demons and even to bring the dead back to life.  And his teaching was unlike anything they had ever heard before.  He took the law and the words of the prophets and taught them in a way that cut right to the heart of a man and his motivations.

Suddenly, it did not matter where you were born, what you looked like, how much money you had or even that you were physically whole.  Jesus’ message seemed to be for everyone and he emphasized this by spending more time with those in the margins of society than with those in power.  He paid particular attention to those who had the greatest needs and seemed to have no patience for the rules and regulations of the Pharisees, angering them on several occasions.

By the 17th Chapter of Luke, it is clear that the disciples’ heads are spinning.  The spark of faith that led them to follow Jesus has yet to fan into the flame that will ignite the early church and they are struggling to wrap their hearts and minds around all that Jesus is teaching and showing them.  I can hear the eagerness and consternation in their voices as they finally say to Jesus “increase our faith!”

They are, in effect, asking for the Lord to help them understand.  They want clarification.  They want answers and explanations.  But most of all, they want their faith to grow so that they may follow and serve the Lord and do the very difficult things that He has been teaching and asking them to do.

I believe a similar moment comes to all believers.  A moment when we may be puzzled and perplexed, buffeted and battered but still honestly wanting to do the will of our Lord.  And we recognize that it is not in us or of us that we may accomplish His great work.  It is only by the power of the Spirit of the living God that we may accomplish His will and it will require us to put our faith to the test.  And small though our faith may be, it can do mighty things when it is placed upon the one who is eternal and unshakable.

Charles Spurgeon said “The eye cannot see itself. Did you ever see your own eye? In a mirror you may have done so, but that was only a reflection of it. And you may, in like manner, see the evidence of your faith, but you cannot look at the faith itself. Faith looks away to itself to the object of faith, even to Christ.”

Are you struggling?  Are you questioning?  Are you seeking and honestly trying to understand?  Cry out to God and ask Him to increase your faith and then put all that you have in His care.  Keep walking with Him, one step at a time, and watch as your small faith placed in a mighty God can do miraculous things.