But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. (1 Corinthians 2:14, NLT)
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6, NASB)
There is power in the Word of God. Even while immersed in an elaborate, almost universally accepted system of religion which had assimilated pagan traditions under ostensible trappings of Christianity, noted priests like John Hus and Martin Luther sparked the Reformation based solely upon their reading of the Bible. The Word of God is “living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
God speaks for Himself on the power of His word:
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)
But what effect does His word have on the faithless heart? The Bible teaches that spiritual truths are spiritually understood. The carnal mind is unable to comprehend the truths of God. And those who have an attitude of disrespect toward God should not expect any kind of special sign of His existence, or some supernatural confirmation of the power of His Word. God is God. He is sovereign. He transcends humanity, and his thoughts are incomprehensible to us except as He chooses to reveal them to us through His Spirit. He doesn’t have to give signs. He doesn’t have to submit to anyone’s criteria of belief or convince anyone He is real. His existence doesn’t depend on anyone’s help or acknowledgement.
Throughout the gospels, we see that faithless people would unflinchingly cling to their rejection of Christ, no matter what signs or miracles they witnessed. He raised the dead; He healed the sick; He made the lame walk; He cast out demons; He fed the multitudes. Even in spite of all this, some still asked for a “sign”. Like a genie in a bottle, they thought Jesus should just perform magic tricks for them upon request (John 6:30). Some even said, “Just tell us you’re the Messiah, and we’ll believe You!”, but it just wasn’t true. Their hearts were hardened against Him. Their rejection of Christ was already complete, irrevocable.
That’s not to say He doesn’t desire to connect with us. In fact, the message of the Scriptures is quite the opposite. God would do anything to save each one of us. He created us, and then became one of us so He could redeem and restore us to our Edenic state. He became like us – who were created in His image – so that He could redeem everyone in our image (Romans 8:3). Even the faithless and unbelieving; even those who revile Him.
The Lord is not afraid to match wits with you. He invites you to sit down and reason with Him (Isaiah 1:18). He has promised to reveal Himself to those who seek Him with all their hearts. If you have your doubts or questions, that’s ok. He can manage. Give Him a chance to answer you. He will give you enough reason to know He’s there. Be diligent about seeking Him, and you’ll be amazed at what you find.
What have you got to lose?
In his book “Take the Risk”, Ben Carson talks about Pascal’s wager. Throughout the book, Carson explains his theory of decision-making using a best and worst-case analysis. What’s the best and worst thing that could happen if I do something? What’s the best and worst that could happen if I don’t do it? He applies this analysis to belief in God.
Think about that. If there really were no God, and you fully believed in Him, what is the worst that could happen? You’d still have lived your life with a sense of purpose, which likely made you happier than you otherwise would have been. What would you really have lost?
On the other extreme, what is the worst thing that could happen if God really does exist, but you don’t believe in Him? You could be facing quite a slap in the face. Jesus Christ appears in the clouds, and as the Bible says, “all the tribes of the earth mourn…”, and people wish the rocks could fall on them (Matthew 24:30; Revelation 1:7). What if it’s all true? Every word of the Bible? The Scriptures say that “at the name of Jesus every knee will bow” (Philippians 2:10). Check this out:
“I have sworn by Myself, The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness And will not turn back, That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.” Isaiah 45:23, NASB.
Now ask yourself: if the Bible is all true, and you take the chance of not believing, what do you stand to lose then? The Bible says that the human mind has not even begun to conceive of the wonderful things God has prepared for those who love Him:
but just as it is written,” THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD,AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.” 1 Corinthians 2:9
Do you really want to risk missing out on that? If not, I hope you’ll pray this prayer from your heart.
Heavenly Father, if You’re there, I want to know You. Please help my unbelief, and give me enough evidence to know that You’re really there, and You’re really listening.
Photo by forrestegan accessed via flickr