“There is a place for knowing and hearing and reading. But there has to come a moment of personal surrender. Our commitment to God has sufficient objective truth so that the truth claims can be verified. The Bible is not a fanciful book of spiritual speculation conjured up by dreamers. There are historical, geographical, and philosophical assertions that can be measured and confirmed by the historian, archaeologist, and the philosopher respectively. But the point of real contact comes when that third person knowledge–that knowledge about God–becomes first-person trust in God and commitment to His will. Only then does the personal understanding bring a transformed attitude.”
~ Ravi Zacharia; Cries of the Heart ~
We can be thankful that God does not hide from us!
There is plenty of evidence available in the world, in history, and philosophy to give us a rational foundation for putting our faith Him. Our job is to go out and discover it.
I believe that it is crucial for us to study the Bible and to educate ourselves in apologetics so we can have the tools we need for living a life of faith. It is crucial for us to know that there is valid evidence for faith and how to answer the challenges brought by skeptics and critics.
As important as having the knowledge is, it is not enough to truly have faith in God. Knowledge and belief do not equate to having faith. I know that we like to think that they are all the same thing, but they are not. This is why some people fail to come to faith in Jesus. They need to have all their questions answered before they will put their trust in the Creator of the universe. The problem is that we will never have all our questions answered. Even the most faithful person has unanswered questions.
I have uncertainties about the Bible and there are days when I wonder if Christianity is really true, but that is the reality of life. There will always be a certain amount of mystery in life. The important thing is that we don’t let the reality prevent us from living a life faith.
True faith begins with knowledge and belief, but then it grows from there. Faith needs to transition into commitment and trust. This means that faith has more in common with a relationship than with education.
Take for example Hebrews 11.
8 It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.9 And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise.10 Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God. (NLT)
Abraham obeyed God. Abraham trusted God. Abraham held on to the promise from God.
Abraham’s faith was made real because he had a relationship with God. A relationship that caused him to trust and to obey. He didn’t a maintain a systematic set of beliefs about God, but he trusted God.
This is the challenge for us. To experience God we need to move beyond just believing that He exists, to trusting His promises. Not will we experience God, but we will also become an additional source of evidence for Him.
What this world needs is not more people with knowledge about God, but people who have completely surrendered to Him. The world is dying to see people who have come alive in Jesus Christ. That will only happen if we live by faith.