HOW TO BELIEVE IN GOD
An overview of how we can find evidence of
God’s presence during our journey of faith;
prove to ourselves that he does exist.
I am now quite confident that we all really can answer
the question positively for ourselves, “Does
But, this does not mean that I have always thought that way. No, I was
once a very dedicated atheist. And I still understand how
implausible the notion of religious faith is to many people in this day and age. Completely understand!
During my professional career I relied on
disciplined analysis and evaluation to succeed. (The who’s, how’s and why’s of this website are presented on the home page.) Given
my background, you may be wondering how someone like me came to hold
such strong faith and belief. Well, like many other analytical, open
minded individuals, I found that if we
are willing to ‘really’ look for evidence and
we know where and how to do so, then each one of us should actually be able to
to ourselves that God exists!
Firstly let me offer a couple of definitions. The word “faith” on this website applies to an understanding of Bible content,
which is accepted as being true although there may sometimes be no
evidence-based proof, particularly in the early days of our journey. On the other hand, the word “belief”
refers to acceptance of something as real resulting from the location of genuine
evidence-based proof. A deeper explanation of the two terms is
available on this website.
I do emphasise though that we all must be sure our ‘belief’ in God is always based on “genuine evidence” which I maintain is available to each of us. We don’t want our Christian faith unravelling at a later date as a result of us not being in that position.
Now, let us get to the subject matter of this section of the website, beginning with this article. It provides an overview of how to recognise God’s presence in our search for belief in him, and the
benefits awaiting us as a result of our gaining Christian faith. The balance of this
section of the website goes on to explain how sound faith can be built. It refers to a ‘faith’ that can lead us to a more contented and purposeful life; “real personal freedom”. And that is actually the title of the final article in this section of the website.
2. RECOGNISING HIS PRESENCE
individuals (i.e. ‘thinkers’) are often reluctant to
accept Christian faith, as a way of life, without first knowing
how to actually believe in God; prove to themselves that he exists at
all. And I can understand this, because that is the way ‘I am wired’
myself. So, for me, one of the first objectives in my journey of faith was to
find proof for myself.
where and how do we locate the evidence; this proof?
Well, like the many millions
of Christians who have gone before me, I now understand through my life
experiences that God ultimately
wants a one-on-one personal relationship
with each of us
and to be intimately involved within our individual lives. In effect we
need to engage with God; open ourselves to him. Briefly, through our faith, we connect with him
just as he desires of us, as explained within the Bible. And that is
where we come to recognise his presence; his existence. Potentially,
And the fact of the matter is that when we do open our lives to him, in
this manner within our journey of Christian faith, the evidence that flows to us does in turn give us benefits. So, yes we
get the evidence we need, and we gain positive benefits in our lives from the use of faith as
a result. (Be aware I am not meaning stuff like fame or fortune ... because there is much more to life than that!) And of
course there is more to Christian faith than just thinking of
ourselves, but none-the-less he emphatically wants to lovingly walk
with each of us through life!
In essence the growth of sound faith entails a journey based on our developing knowledge
of him through the Bible, attending fellowships of faith, and deliberately applying our growing faith to our day-to-day lives. We engage with him through all those processes.
Even as I write these words,
I know how questionable they may appear, particularly if you are just
thinking about trialling faith at this stage. But, his presence will be clearly recognisable to you there in the Church and your life, and I can assure you that it will positively impact it!
3. OUR JOURNEY OF FAITH
far as I am concerned ... and I am trying to make it very clear ... he
is in effect more than
willing to reveal himself, to each one of us, when we do open ourselves
in the way that he offers us through the Bible. In essence, we begin our ‘journey of faith’. Take our first steps.
we need to join a church; a fellowship of faith. Secondly, we begin to
apply our growing Christian faith to our daily lives.
3.1 God in church
primary aim of most churchgoers, as committed Christians, is to worship
God. For beginner Christians, it is a critical venue for building
knowledge of God and our
relationship with him, i.e. it guides us all in our search for Bible
based knowledge. We need that knowledge to guide us into developing “a relationship with God”; and understand how to apply faith to our lives.
with guidance we can certainly come to recognise his actual
presence there in church services. In more traditional or mainline
churches, for example, we come to recognise his subtle
interaction with the congregation and church leaders. It never fails to
impress good old analytical me.
But, if we choose to attend fellowships in the
Pentecostal/ Charismatic movement then we may even witness quite
obvious evidence of his presence there. Yes, really! I am actually referring to evidence I categorise as ‘tangible’ or ‘palpable’ in the movement, i.e. personal and irrefutable evidence. It does not matter what doubts you may have right now, you just need to be ready to believe
as you move into that area of the church. The Holy Spirit will lovingly
do the rest. (I offer a taste of what is available in the article, “Gifts of the Spirit”.)
I am so firm in what I have written above aren’t I? And I know how crazy it can look to people with no exposure to the movement. Mmmmm, ‘I’ve been there, done that’, so I understand exactly why you would think that. But this stuff really does happen. I cannot say it any clearer.
Guidance on how to build faith and belief through church attendances is presented in the website section titled, “God in church”.
3.2 God in our lives
armed with some knowledge of Christian faith we can then begin to open
ourselves to God in our day-to-day lives through that relationship that
awaits us. And yes, begin to identify the evidence there too that will
help us to ‘believe’.
should even be possible for you to initially identify some subtle evidence of his
presence by looking back through your life, i.e. whilst you were still
an agnostic or even an
atheist. Advice on how we can do this is provided in the article, “His guiding hand”. But by deliberately opening your life to God, and engaging with him through faith, that evidence will become
much more obvious
Keep remembering too, that reading “Our amazing Bible” is also an important process in our faith journey.
Stronger evidence of the Lord’s existence will become obvious as you begin to shape-up an ongoing, loyal
and trusting relationship with him. That is, it all becomes quite obvious as your faith grows and your relationship with God deepens. Yes, his existence can certainly become very concrete as your faith becomes ‘sound’. See the article, “Sound Faith” for an explanation.
Guidance on how to gradually apply growing faith to life is presented in the website section titled “God in our lives”.
There are certainly other directions you can take to gain
knowledge and evidence in my opinion. In particular, I recommend attending an Alpha Course.
These are available in 100 countries across the globe. That course will
give you advice on Christian basics, explain simply how to
engage with God in your life, and offer the possibility of actually
experiencing God’s presence in a way you will never forget. Sound impressive? I hope so.
4. THE BENEFITS RECEIVED FROM FAITH
But what is available to us through Christian faith? What can God give us if we do turn to faith? Well, I am saying that faith, in a Christian sense, will actually deliver positive outcomes within our individual lives; and the other lives that we in turn have an influence over.
So, what are these benefits that I have been ‘blabbering on about’?
His loving care, on both a
daily and whole-of-life basis, actually becomes more and more obvious for us as
we travel along in life with him as our companion. He really can positively affect our lives, through using practises like prayer and looking for his guidance as examples.
Greater contentment with life is just one
of the spin-offs from Christianity. Probably the greatest outcome
that I found though was ‘personal freedom’. Bear in mind though, I am not saying that bad stuff will never happen to you in life. The ‘rolling dice’ of chance within life will inevitably lead to some hard times, but even then he will be there.
And he will certainly try to assist you too in meeting your obligations
and care to loved ones and others less fortunate than yourself.
Although a little harder to explain,
I can say that there is also great satisfaction in just holding that
relationship with the Lord. It is not easy to grasp ... and I know that
from experience ... that the ‘being’ who holds the universe and all that exists within it, in place,
actually loves each of us. And he wants us to love him back. Of course that can only
happen once you are pretty sure that he is real. As I have been emphasising, that is a lot easier than you might guess.
Just like me, I am sure you will find that it is a good idea to ‘care whether God exists’!
There are formalities to meet during our faith journey, such as committing ourselves to Jesus and trying to lead lives that are ‘not just about ourselves’. As I have implied, it will all ‘feel right’ as it comes together during that journey.
In summary then,
as far as believing in God is concerned, it is
largely achieved by recognising his loving care and interaction with
us during our journey of growing faith, as the Bible actually explains. This occurs both in our chosen
church and our day to day lives through our use of faith there.
closer we walk with him, and
engage with him as indeed he wants us to through sound Christian faith,
more obvious he becomes. And as a result the positive benefits, such as
greater contentment and personal freedom,
begin to unfold in our lives. And do not forget his openness in the Pentecostal/ Charismatic area
of the greater Church: he can make his presence patently clear to each
one of us there if we are willing to approach him in that way.
In effect, we become profoundly aware
of his presence. And as I have already alluded, that is largely what
the articles that follow this one, and the others
that support them on this website, are about. Of course, there are many
other benefits from becoming a committed Christian, not the least being
a guarantee of eternal life. The final section of this website can provide a basic understanding of Christianity.
you feel the need for faith and belief in your life, and you are truly
ready to believe, then please read on through this website.
Continue to the next article, “Our amazing Bible”.