Why Do You Believe?

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45 Responses

  1. Jean says:

    “Why do you believe?” Answer: Because the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel and has enlightened me with His gifts.

    “What sustains your faith?” Answer: The Holy Spirit.

    There is a lot of misplaced faith in the world. All objects of faith other than Christ crucified for your sins and raised for you salvation will evaporate at some point. Only faith in an object which is both (1) almighty and (2) incapable of lying, is sustainable through all of life’s trials, including at the hour of death. On this particular point, IMO doctrine must be correct and uncompromising.

  2. JoelG says:

    Helpful article Michael. Thank you.

    Why believe? Because the complicated mess that is me and my life is hopeless without the Hope of Christ.

    What sustains? See above. 🙂

    “Yes
    Even when I don’t believe
    There is a place in me
    Inaccessible to unbelief
    A patch of wild grace”

    Astonishments, Anna Kamienska

  3. Michael says:

    I believe that the Holy Spirit has sustained me.
    Doctrine…to a degree…

  4. Michael says:

    Great quote, JoelG!

  5. ( |o )====::: says:

    “Mystery and paradox no longer confound me, but bring comfort.
    Jesus, I’m sure of.”
    <3 <3 <3

    Thanks for your candor, Michael!

    For me, one additional thing, I don't care if I have the spiritual approval of anyone other than Jesus.

    It's true freedom =)

    Peace

  6. Michael says:

    Thank you, Gman!

  7. Noelle says:

    I could go on and on and on…
    Thank you for this piece, my friend.

  8. Michael says:

    Noelle…thank you for being you…

  9. Steve says:

    I believe because:

    1. I want to believe: There is nothing better than Jesus. He gives me joy that no one else can.
    2. We are commanded to believe: The sheep hear His voice. And know that He is good.
    3. I need to believe: No one other than Jesus has the words of eternal life and can save us from our sins.

    Not sure if this helps anyone but the sacrament of baptism can help one that has straying faith. Remember what Jesus has done for you. It is not the quantity of ones faith or even the quality if we could somehow measure that. It is Who the faith is in that makes the difference.

  10. Babylon’s Dread says:

    All of the reasons for unbelief or apostasy bemuse me in that none of those things created my faith thus they cannot destroy it. Further, the scriptures testify to all of them; trouble, tribulation, false brethren, church division, false doctrine, wolves, etc etc. How can these things unsettle what they did not birth?

    I believe because I know him. He revealed himself to me and in me. Jesus is as real as my own dear wife or my mother. I don’t believe in a set of propositions. I know a person. I can no more deny him than I can be unborn by an act of will.

    I truly do not mean this in some arrogant defiant way. It is merely the breath I breathe. Faith has nothing to do with leaping into the dark. Faith is full developed sight. I see him even as my fingers form words on a screen. He is very life of very life. I know.

    I am sustained because access to him is so abundant. It is at the speed of thought. He is here. He is not far. I seek him and he can be found.

  11. Michael says:

    BD,

    It grieves me that it bemuses you.
    I know what it’s like to wrestle with all of those things.
    I know them today and i know Him as well.
    It’s not easy…

  12. Babylon’s Dread says:

    Michael,

    For clarity sake: I mean no relationship of bemused to amused. I am bewildered not entertained. I am also in grief because I think people have imbibed many lies to lose sight of one who stopped so low to raise us sos high. I do intend my words as provocation not as mocking.

  13. Michael says:

    In my experience (and my life) provocation is the last thing a struggling believer needs.
    When people would tell me of their wonderful relationship with Christ it simply reinforced that disconnect and lack I felt…and added grief and shame to the toxic mix I was already dealing with.

    I will fully agree that it is only a focus on the person of Jesus that can make a difference…

  14. Owen says:

    Michael, this is a very timely question for me. The assaults on our basic tenets, telling us how outdated we are, how narrow, bigoted, simple-minded, etc etc….. We’re hearing these more and more, and they keep me running back to the Word just to check that nothing has changed.

    I believe because God has proven Himself faithful to me for so long, in spite of my own unfaithfulness to Him.

    I believe because at this stage in my life, to turn away actually, physically feels like suicide.

    What sustains me? I have to echo others here – the Spirit. And yet so many times I don’t even recognize it. He sustains us even when we are unable at the moment to sustain ourselves.

    “A patch of wild grace.”
    That’s perfect.

  15. Michael says:

    Well said, Owen.
    I confess that “The Word” has caused me as many issues as it solved…I had to find different ways to understand the written text.
    I have a better relationship with Jesus than with the bible…

  16. Babylon’s Dread says:

    We truly live in a day where offense is our first response to one another. I parse words with nuance and do not expect them to be the endless source of contention.

    Provocation need not be contentious but exhortational. I meant my words to add and not detract. Being unable to communicate I shall desist.

    Doubt does not inspire rebuke in me but pastoral care. Those in my world know my heart on these things. It is badly expressed here. I apologize as I mean to inspire hope but apparently have failed.

  17. Michael says:

    BD,

    I’m not offended, but I am trying to be careful.
    Our readership contains many who are parsing through pain and grief…me, I’m ok today.
    Tomorrow may be different.
    You’re appreciated…parse my comments through the lens of my own frailty in these matters.

  18. Owen says:

    “I have a better relationship with Jesus than the Bible”.

    Thanks for that, Michael. I’ve been doing a lot of Bible study lately, and I think I may have just been nudged.

    Verse of an old song I remember,

    “… you”ve sought my doctrines well, now seek my face.”

  19. Michael says:

    Owen,

    I fall back on doctrine when my prayer life sucks.
    It’s not a bad fallback, but unsatisfactory in the end…

  20. Jerod says:

    I know how he healed my mind (my soul)

    I can grieve over my sin, now.

    I can love people now whom I would have kicked to the curb or written off five years ago.

    And it’s all very confusing, doctrinally, theologically.

    “Jesus, I’m sure of.” Amen.

  21. Duane Arnold says:

    I’ve encountered too many “dark nights of the soul” to take belief lightly or to to be glib about it. I believe because I find it impossible not to believe.

    What sustains me? I know that I should say the Holy Spirit and leave it there, but that would not be honest. I’m sustained by two things – the Eucharist and those who are on the journey with me (and that includes believers that range from Quakers to ultramontane Roman Catholics, not just those of my tribe).

  22. Michael says:

    Duane,

    Well said.
    I think the Holy Spirit leads me to the liturgy and the Eucharist and the communion of saints.
    My cats fit in there somewhere too… 🙂

  23. Em says:

    Pastor Dread makes a lot of sense, “….. I think people have imbibed many lies to lose sight of one who stooped so low to raise us so high.”
    For my part, i think that every Christian should get a good grasp of the book of Job. That Satan stalks the earth is a reality, not a glib, easy rationale to explain away evil.
    This has been a hard year for me. Stresses and testing of my confidence in God’s ability to get me thru – financially and physically – due to outside forces beyond my control. I thot about listing them here, but i know all can match my list and some here can raise it a notch or two higher….
    I’ve got 67 years of knowing God’s faithfulness and the realization that He was faithful even before that when, as a know it all kid, i declared Him unworthy….
    If you’re angry at God, confess it to Him, He will not hold it against you. But don’t make the mistake of disrespecting Him by declaring Him unfaithful or worse irrelevant…
    Faith is challenged by today’s world more than it ever has been, IMV, the worst challenges now are insidious – subtle
    Sorry to have rambled around the edges if the question posed, Michael

  24. Michael says:

    Em,
    Your ramblings are always welcome here.

  25. Rocksy says:

    I believe because He called me and revealed Himself to be true. Without Him I would have zero hope and probably would not be here at all. There would be no reason. I believe because the Bible makes sense to me.. even with all of its confusing and tough verses, it’s a testament of Truth that I don’t have to figure out entirely before I pass.

    “Lord restore to me the joy of my salvation, and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me. “

    I’m sustained by the sanctification of the Holy Spirit and by prayer. Daily dedicating my life to Him. I love Him so much.

  26. Paige says:

    I really cannot describe “why” I believe. Like BD, Jesus is REAL to me, undeniably so. God’s Grace sustained me through ‘many dangers, toils and snares”…. The Scriptures are food to my soul. Do I understand them? No. But I LOVE them.
    Like my daughter Sarah, who posted on this thread on Facebook, “Lord, where else can we go? Only You have the words of eternal life”… True for me, as well.

    I have often thought of the Scriptures like looking at “your” Lake, Crater Lake, and how as one would walk around the perimeter of that vast beauty, the view of the Lake changes, but it’ the same Lake…. So in life, trials, sorrows, losses, adversities and pain, the Lake looks different from different angles, but I simply cannot look away, as if it’s majesty wasn’t there. For me, it is. He Is.

    My life has not be a cake walk. I have been severely burned in both life and church, but I MUST forgive; forgive as I have been forgiven. I must LOVE my enemies and those who have used me. It would be easy to settle into a place of self righteousness and hold on to my anger, but I know see that is a deadly position.
    To live ‘on earth as it is in Heaven” means to love and forgive, as God does for us, and to be on guard for self righteousness. God has really been ministering these things into my heart lately.

  27. Noelle says:

    I could share so much more but honestly my position would surely grieve some here who care for me.
    What I will say is I have more questions than answers and the moment I stopped believing in heaven and hell as described by most within the faith is the moment I became completely free to ask my questions boldly without fear or insecurity.
    No, i don’t have more answers now, but my position of doubting inquisitor no longer makes me feel disenfranchised from God and Spirit.

    To be painfully honest my intellectual makeup resembles that of the scientist and the cognitive dissonance that i would suffer from “blind faith” would damage me irreparably.

  28. Paige says:

    Hi Noelle, I wonder if you would enjoy reading Pete Enns https://peteenns.com/about/ and BioLogos https://biologos.org/ Both are places for asking legit questions that many are afraid to ask. Lots of very interesting and smart people out there who can’t swallow the usual hook, line and sinker.
    xoxo

  29. victorious says:

    I am sure Jesus is singing this and many other songs over us in the darkest of times.

    ” . . .No there ain’t no darkness strong enough that can tear you out from my heart,

    No thereain’t no strength that ‘s strong enough to tear this love apart.

    Never gonna let you go . . .”

    This is fitting for the culture of this community.

    “Beloved I am confident of things of you that accompany salvation.”

  30. JoelG says:

    I am pondering (obsessing) this this morning. It seems to me that there’s 2 kinds of unbelief: the kind that doesn’t believe Jesus is God and the kind that doesn’t believe one is saved.

    I like what Steve said above in addressing the latter:

    “It is not the quantity of ones faith or even the quality if we could somehow measure that. It is Who the faith is in that makes the difference.”

    What Jesus did for us is an objective reality. It is very easy, especially in the Evangelical world, to doubt one’s salvation, especially when one struggles with anxiety and/or depression. Faith has to come from the outside when “enthusiasm” and “passion” wanes.

  31. Michael says:

    JoelG,

    I can think of a dozen reasons for unbelief and more than that for some form of agnosticism.
    I can only think of one reason to believe…Jesus.

  32. JoelG says:

    Amen…

    “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

  33. Michael says:

    Noelle brings up an interesting point.
    She had to make some difficult decisions about which doctrines to hold to and which to let go of to keep a hold on Jesus.

    I’ve had to do so as well…I couldn’t hold to traditional views of inerrancy and eschatology and stay sane or faithful.

    I’m sure others have similar wrestlings…

  34. ( |o )====::: says:

    Inerrancy, eschatology, soteriology, and a few more “ologies” for me.

    Still, it comes down to the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.

  35. ( |o )====::: says:

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  36. Paige says:

    Being out in nature is one of the thing that really puts me in major AWE of God. This Fall in the NW is the most incredible in my memory, and each day, I’m blown away at the beauty and wonder of the season… Learning the tiniest amount of geology or physics, which is all my brain can handle, also causes much praise to God. There is a group on Fb called Geology Wonders that blows my mind every day. I always end up worshipping God as I look at the photos of ROCKS . lol

  37. Noelle says:

    Michael, I gave up those as well. I hold a strong personal belief that God and fear counter eachothers manifestation, and unfortunately, most doctrine/dogma people cling to breed fear and repel God, in purest form.

  38. Em says:

    Perhaps one’s experience with the Creator/Redeemer is similar to one’s experience with their car(s)…. 😁. .?
    Some of us turn the key, the engine starts and that is all we care about… While others start the engine, listen for sounds, worry about the antifreeze, dirty oil, tire tread, etc….
    For my part, i can’t help but wonder if we’ll find that there are other systems not discernable until we enter Eternity – however, i hope i’ll have enough presence of mind to stick with the God – my God – that got me there
    Paul the apostle said that there are things so far beyond our comprehension that there was no point in bringing them up… I believe that…..

  39. Owen says:

    Really liking Noelle’s comment, the disparity between love and fear. In 1 John 4:18, they can’t exist together.

  40. Noelle says:

    Thank you, Owen. I remember being 8 years old at Christian summer camp in Yosemite and being forced to play a fun little tribulation game…
    The kind where all all of the counselors dressed up as Roman soldiers and hunted down the campers to “execute” them. We hid in trees, under beds etc.
    Remember, I was 8.
    I didn’t feel like God was at that camp at all.
    I did, however, lose sight of a very pure (up-to-that-point) connection to God.

    As you may guess, as an adult I haven’t been very fond of eschatology.

  41. Owen says:

    Noelle, I am shaking my head in disbelief at your story… (not meaning that I don’t believe you, just appalled that the leaders thought that would be fun or even appropriate!)
    I have a 8 yr old girl, and I can’t fathom terrorizing her tender belief in God that way. WTH???

    Trying to find a forgotten passage, somebody help me out here. It reads something like “for you have not come to the mountain that trembles with the fear of God, but the God of love..”. My apologies for the terrible paraphrase, but I know it’s there somewhere.

  42. ( |o )====::: says:

    I’m thinking they forgot about the millstone for causing little ones to stumble!!!

  43. Owen says:

    Amen with the millstones…..

  44. Muff Potter says:

    I believe because I choose to believe.
    Although I may not believe as you (generic you) believe.

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