“But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.”
1 Peter 3:14-16 (emphasis mine)
Why do you believe in God? It’s a simple question that is sometimes asked as a challenge and sometimes through curiosity. I used to think answering this question required some sort of theological response. I needed to provide historical facts and hard evidence to back up my belief in Jesus Christ.
I think about it differently now. When people ask Christians why they believe in Jesus, they don’t need historical facts, they need life-changing truth. They need to hear about His impact on our lives and the relevance in today’s world. The evidence lies in our hearts. Peter admonishes us to be prepared to explain our faith and our hope in Christ to anyone who asks.
So what do we do if we are challenged by a logical thinker who asks something like: “How can you believe in something that doesn’t seem to make sense?” I hate conflict. I don’t deal well with it. And escalating conflict will only make matters worse. You might try an anecdote.
For instance, I don’t read Chinese or Russian. When I look at these languages, they look like gibberish. It makes no sense to me. But I can learn the language if I take the time to do so. Believing in God may look nonsensical if you don’t understand Who God is. He feels distant and incomprehensible until you take the time to learn His language. But when you start talking to Him, you’ll discover that He has been waiting for you to draw near to Him so He can whisper truth to your heart.
This is unlikely to turn them into a follower of Jesus, but it may give them a new perspective. They may realize that just because they don’t understand something, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth exploring. When it comes to discussing our faith with non-believes, we try to build bridges rather than walls.
If we are talking to a staunch non-believer, a person who has been hurt by religious people, or the troubled but curious, we find they will be moved by our stories more than by any logical argument. This is our chance to tell them why we believe in Jesus. It provides the opportunity to connect and build understanding.
Take some time today to really think about why you believe. Was there a specific turning point in your life that pointed you to the truth of Jesus? What opened the door for Biblical truth to migrate from head knowledge to whole-hearted-acceptance? What experiences have you had with God that drew you nearer to Him?
I’ll give you an example by telling you about my life-changing encounter with the love of God. I share the full story and a few other experiences in my book, “The Jesus Spark.” But today I want to tell you about the moment I understood what it felt like to be loved by God. This is a shortened version of my story. It is why I believe in the love of Christ with my whole heart:
My grandfather was a Southern Baptist preacher. I grew up learning about Jesus, going to church, and hearing who God was. When I was around seven, I was sitting in church when Grandpa gave the invitation to walk to the front of the church if you were ready to give your life to Jesus. This happened every week. But on this day, I felt a pull on my spirit. It was almost a physical sensation and, though I had never experienced it before, I knew it was God inviting me to step forward and join His family.
I didn’t go. I wanted to go forward, but I stayed at my seat, uncertain, and unwilling to walk forward. I was troubled the rest of the day until I decided that at the evening service (yes, we were that family that went twice on Sundays), I would go forward.
That night I waited expectantly, even excitedly, for Grandpa’s invitation. It finally happened. I waited for God to call me again. Nothing. I waited a little longer. I asked God to speak to me like He did that morning. Nothing. But I went forward anyway.
Fast forward several years, and you’ll find me still struggling with that night. Was I really a Christian? I had been baptized. I knew in my head that God was real and that Jesus loved me. But something else kept screaming that I was a fake, a fraud, a hypocrite. God was mad at me. I had disobeyed Him and ignored His call that Sunday morning. I was too late. I had missed my one chance. No matter how much I prayed, I couldn’t shake this feeling of doubt and isolation.
But God came to my rescue. On a sunny summer morning, He would change my life. I was vacuuming the living room floor, sunshine filtering through the windows, while softly singing “Jesus Loves Me” when God showed up.
JESUS LOVES ME! I stopped, frozen in place as what I can only explain as a laser beam of God’s love shot through my entire being. I felt my soul light up with the pure white light of the love of Jesus! JESUS LOVES ME! The truth radiated through my body, mind, and soul. My spirit sang, my mouth followed, I danced and sang and cried for the overflowing joy that poured out of that knowledge. No, not knowledge, understanding, truth, reality! “Jesus Loves Me” isn’t just a platitude we sing, it is a rich truth that burns away doubt and frees the tortured mind.
From that day to this, I have never doubted how much Jesus loves me. This moment provided an anchor through many storms and a beacon for countless dark nights. Hear this, Jesus Loves YOU. His love is real. His love is unchanging. His love is powerful. His love is unfailing.
Why do I believe? Because Jesus loves me. I can feel it in every cell of my body, every part of my soul, every corner of my spirit. I know this to be true with my whole heart. This revelation isn’t just for me. It’s also for you. A love as great as the love I felt from God isn’t just for one person, it’s for everyone. It’s for you.
If you have yet to experience the holy, life-changing love of God, you need only ask. God may show Himself to you in a different way, that’s to be expected. As you read your Bible, you’ll see that He rarely showed up the same way twice. He revealed Himself through everything from a whisper to a pillar of fire to His Son upon a cross. And if there is a delay between the ask and the gift, be patient, keep reading, keep praying, keep searching. God wants to reveal Himself to you.
Jesus Followers: be ready to tell your story. Searchers need to hear your voice.
Searchers: keep seeking, keep knocking, keep asking. God longs to give you your own story.
Father, thank you for revealing yourself to all who seek you. Help us share our experiences with others that they may be drawn to your light as we are drawn to your light. Thank you for your grace, your forgiveness, and the life you give us. You are holy, loving, and gracious. Let the light of your love shine through us, drawing others nearer to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Spread the spark of hope everywhere you go,
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I want to follow Jesus! How do I get started?
“This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.
1 John 4:13-15
If you are ready to join the family of God, simply believe and ask. You can choose your own words or pray the prayer below. God hears your heart, simply confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and let the Spirit lead you.
“Father, I want to be yours. Forgive me of my sins. I believe that you sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die in my place. I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and thank you for the gift of salvation through Him. I invite the Holy Spirit into my heart and surrender my life to You. In Jesus name, Amen.”
Feel free to spend time just talking to God and sharing your heart with Him. Let Him speak to you and listen as He leads you forward into new life. Welcome to the family.
Need to talk or have questions? Feel free to reach out and contact me.