Wednesday, February 01, 2012

How to Find Faith

I have visited with individuals who readily admit they do not have religious faith. They do not want to be characterized as being an atheist, but they do not have faith that God superintends the affairs of humans. They do not believe in divine intervention to keep a person from being harmed. They speak more of fate than faith, and I find that sad.

My personal testimony is that I have been fortunate. From a child I have known those Scriptures which are able to make a person wise unto salvation through faith (2 Tim. 3:15). I have been asked when I was saved or born again and I have to honestly reply, “I do not know. My earliest memories include going to Sunday School and church and loving Jesus.” I may not know when I walked through a door, but I know when I am home. In like manner, I may not know the moment of my conversion but I know I am in Christ for I have met the gospel terms, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

For the questioning soul, for the skeptical individual, for the person who prides himself on being open minded to the teachings of atheism and agnosticism but secretly would like to have religious faith, I offer the following counsel.

First, recognize that everyone has faith; the only question is faith in what. The atheist has faith that there is no God. That is where he places his hope and trust. Therefore, the atheist, and even the agnostic, can rail against orthodox religions without understanding that his own belief’s system is a religion itself. The Oxford English Dictionary connects the word religion with relegere, which means “to read over again”, perhaps to emphasize the ritualistic nature of religions. Certainly the atheist or the agnostic will go over and over in his mind why Christianity cannot be true and God cannot be real. He has placed his faith in his own reasoning powers.

Second, for the soul searching for faith I would suggest reading the Bible. The Bible says that “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). People want God to speak to them. I have good news. God has spoken but some people are not listening. If you want to hear God speak, if you want to find faith, then read the Bible. A good starting point is the gospel of John which is found in the New Testament.

Third, understand that small faith can become bigger faith when exercised. If a person will open his mind to the possibility that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died according to the Scriptures, was buried and rose again the third day, that small faith can grow and grow until there is a full embracing of Christ and the soul cries out, “My Lord and my God”! The 19th century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard understood that God is totally other than man; between God and man there exists a gulf, a chasm that faith alone can bridge. Jesus Christ has come to bridge that gap between man and God and says to all the world, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

Fourth, in order to find faith, saving faith, joyous faith, it must be asked for as a gift. The Bible says that faith is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8–9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Do you want to find faith? Then understand that everyone has some sort of faith, faith is found in the Word of God, small faith, as tiny as a grain of mustard seed can grow, and ultimately the faith that embraces Christ as Lord and Savior with the reward of eternal life must humbly be asked for. Perhaps this prayer, if prayed from the heart will help.

“Dear God, I want to believe in you and pray to you in sincerity. Right now I am seeking. I am not sure about many things, including Your own existence. I am skeptical about what the Christian religion teaches.  I wonder about the stories in the Bible and the miracles I read about. Nevertheless, I am willing to humbly ask You to give me the gift of faith so that I too can have eternal life. I will appropriate the means of receiving faith in that I will read the Bible. Please help. I ask for this priceless gift.” Amen. 

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