My God, our God, is an invisible God. It says so right in the Bible. Colossians 1:15 says that Jesus is the “image of the invisible God.” I’ve never seen Him, so I’d agree pretty whole heartedly with that statement. I think that’s where the breakdown occurs. It’s hard for people to believe what they can’t see. So how do I know this is the real deal?
I don’t think I could very accurately explain why I believe what I believe in words. How I know what God says is true and right. What I believe is an easy one, but the ‘Why?’ is a much more difficult question to answer. If someone asked me right now I’d probably respond with something like “I don’t know I just do.” That’s a pretty cheap answer if you ask me. But I’ve been thinking about how it’s important to have answers to these questions. In Matthew 28 Jesus commands us to spread the good news of his resurrection and eternal life found in Him. And, let’s be honest, what good am I doing if I can’t even explain why I believe in God? So I’ve been doing a little more thinking (which I’m not trying to do too much of over break but it’s clearly not going so well) and I’ve come up with a couple points I might with respond with if I were asked “Why do you believe in God and His Gospel?”
“I’ve seen what He can do.”
Just because God’s invisible doesn’t mean His work on this earth and in us is invisible. Going back to Colossians 1, in verse 16 Paul writes that “all things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” Everything thing here on this earth, was put here specifically by God Himself. I am continually convinced of this every time I see a sunset that makes me stop and just stand in awe. You cannot convince me that those colors you see strewn across the sky in such a beautiful fashion got that way accidentally. Just like you can’t convince me that the complexity of our human anatomy just so happened to turn out the way it did from nothing. God did that.
More than just what I have seen in the beautiful views I have been lucky enough to behold, I have seen what God has done in people, myself included. I have been following Jesus for almost three and a half years (it’s hard to believe it’s only been a few years). In that small stretch of time, I have seen things only God’s power can explain. I’ve seen lives changed and people brought to their knees after hearing what God has done for them. My life has changed immensely as a result of Jesus coming into my life. I have met people and had experiences that have had a profound impact on my life and continue to everyday. I can see all of the blessings God has set out for me and am so thankful for those. These miracles are nothing more than God exercising his sovereign power to demonstrate His unfathomable love for us, and I am convinced of that. The crazy part is that it’s only been three years. I cannot begin to think about all the crazy things He will show me for the rest of my life. Every sunset, every opportunity I have is a gift from the Lord.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
“I have faith.”
Is this true all the time? That’s a funny joke. I have lost faith more time than I care to think about. But I know I’m not special in that way. Even Peter, one of Jesus’ closest disciples lost faith at times (Matthew 14). But hey, there’s beauty in grace. I’ve seen evidence of God, this is true. But the beauty of a sunset or learning about cells did not bring me to faith in Jesus. Now that I do have faith it’s easier to see those things as God’s work but what really brought me to faith is faith. Faith is hard for me to explain (apparently I have real trouble with words). The Bible says in Hebrews 11 that “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (#classic) pretty standard. But what does that really mean and how do I have it?
I have a set of beliefs, you see. I believe that Jesus atoned for my sins on the cross and now I have eternal life in him (that’s the very abridged version of that love story). I believe that Jesus loves me and everyone in creation (just a few of the key ones). If I were perfect I would know this without any doubt, no thoughts would creep into my mind swaying me from these beliefs. But guess what, I’m not perfect (even though it seems like I am, jk). I am constantly distracted by things of this world that tear down God and try to convince me what I believe is not true. What keeps me clinging to my eternal hope? Faith. Faith is the bond that keeps me fixed on Jesus when doubt creeps in. That is why I have found it so important to constantly seek the Lord in everything I do. The stronger I am in faith, the stronger that bond, the easier it is to fend off any thoughts that would move me farther from God. Stronger faith makes it easier to be more sure of what I do not see.
I believe that faith is a heart thing not a head thing. I haven’t had faith all my life. I came to faith in Jesus. I heard the Gospel like I had never heard before and God dug deep into me and took hold of my heart (but that’s a story for another time). I don’t believe that you can just say “Oh ok, that sounds good, I believe that” and have faith. Besides, if that were the way I don’t think anyone would have faith in the first place. People argue about the minute details of the Bible it would be impossible to be convinced of anything. One of my Young Life leaders and mentors explained this to me in this way, he said “No one has come to faith because everything in the Bible is aligned an makes perfect sense.” (I paraphrase) I believe that there has to be a surrender of heart and God latching on and taking control.
Probably my favorite phrase in the Bible comes from Ephesians 2:8. It says “For it is by GRACE you have SAVED through FAITH – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” How do we receive this great gift of salvation that God has presented us with? Through faith. I know the things in the Bible to be true. I have seen evidence of them and when I doubt them, God has given me faith in his truth. I know it’s true because it’s too true to not be.