This week, we started a brand new series called WHY? at Crosspoint Church. We're taking on some pretty tough stuff, looking to answer questions like, Why should I trust the reliability of the Bible?, Why is the world so messed up if there is a God?, Why the conflict between faith and science?, Why is Jesus the only way?, and, this week, Why should I believe in a God anyway? Good questions. Really good questions. Tough questions.
Let's look at the last one: Why should I believe in a God? The question there seems to be, How do I prove there's a God to someone who doesn't believe? Well, I think that's part of the question. That's the part that frightens us the most. That's the part that usually shuts our mouths whenever the hard-core "prove-it-to-me" types speak up. Then, we have a tendency to change the subject quickly or go with the old standard, "It's not proper etiquette to discuss religion or politics in public". Nice out.
What most of these people are asking is "show me some proof". If we are brave enough to not go with the politically correct bail-out, what we usually go with is either, "Well, the Bible says" or "Here's something for you to read" or "Here's a great podcast I'd like you to listen to". That sounds good enough on the surface. But, what does the Bible tell us to do? Does it give us instruction on how to bridge the gap with non-believers? As a matter of fact, it does. Check this out...
"… if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it." 1 Peter 3:15 NLT
What Peter said was not, "When someone asks for hope, give him someone else's reasons for hope". People aren't looking for some canned answers from someone else. They want to know why you believe. Why you have hope. If we can't give reasons we believe, reasons we have faith, then our faith doesn't sound like faith at all. It sounds like a pipe dream. It sounds like we just drank the Kool-Aid.
What Peter is saying here is that we need to be able to verbalize our intellectual realizations, our emotional experiences, our physical encounters, and finally our spiritual decision to bridge the
burden of proof with faith. Not somebody else's experience...ours.
I’m not telling you to stop inviting your friends to church or sharing great content with them, but never let someone else’s faith
replace the hope that God has given you. That’s the best hope you have
Then, James goes one step further to help us bridge this gap between our faith and their doubt:
"If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an
honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from
wisdom." James 3:13 NLT
James says the burden of proof is in our actions. Words can share our
ideology, but only through humble works can we fully share our theology. John tells us of Jesus that, "the Word became flesh and lived among us". God’s truth became Jesus in our world. But, God’s Word didn’t stop
becoming flesh when Jesus ascended, it continues to be claimed as true
(or otherwise) through our lives.
Let me restate, we demonstrate God’s Word as truth for humanity and prove God is real by living out what we believe.
People are not looking for someone else's faith and reasons...they're looking for yours. Can you state them? You're either proving the existence of God or the lack thereof.
People are looking to you for the reasons to believe. Tell them.