Monday, September 17, 2007

Doubts and Questions

In my postings regarding various ways of interpreting the Bible, I mentioned that often we run the risk of focusing on details and trivia rather than the message God is attempting to convey by the story. Regardless of how you view the Bible, you run the risk of getting hung up on doctrinal and other questions, thus hindering your relationship with God.

For example, you may ask why does a supposedly “good” God allow bad things to happen to “good” people? Why is there so much suffering in the world? A question we asked 6 years ago: How could God allow 9/11 to happen? These questions can cause people to seriously question or even reject God if they can’t get satisfactory answers.

In addition to these questions of life, people have doubts or questions about various doctrines. What we must realize is that if you wait until you have a clear understanding of everything to place your faith in Jesus, it will never happen. That’s because there will always be some things we just will never understand. But when we decide to exercise our faith (and if a Christian, receive Christ as your Lord and Savior), the Holy Spirit increases your understanding. A spiritual principle is that “understanding follows faith”, not the other way around. God tells us in Proverbs 2:6:

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. NRSV

Don’t feel bad if you have doubts, questions, or sometimes feel God isn’t with you. God has given us his grace and the gift of faith. All we need to do is accept these gifts, be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and practice the spiritual disciplines of worship, prayer, and Bible study.

We just have to recognize that there will always be unanswerable questions, tensions that are difficult to resolve, and doctrines that make us uncomfortable. There are “hard sayings” of Jesus that make us scratch our heads, and there are attributes of God that seem to be in conflict with one another. But that’s why it’s called “faith.” If it were easy, no faith would have to be involved, only logic or reason.

As I said before, understanding follows faith, so why not accept what Jesus has for you, and then see what God does? I encourage you to do what God tells us through the Apostle Paul in Colossians 2:6-7 (CEV):

You have accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord. Now keep on following him. Plant your roots in Christ and let him be the foundation for your life. Be strong in your faith, just as you were taught. And be grateful.

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