TO REALLY BELIEVE IN GOD
This Lead Article
pulls together all information
contained in this section
It provides an overview of how we can find evidence
of God's existence for ourselves.
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.
During my professional career I relied on
disciplined analysis and evaluation to succeed. (If you wish to know a bit about my knowledge, skills and the quality control over this website’s theology, then click here.) 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
where to look, then each one of us should actually be able to
to ourselves that God exists.
of course, I do not mean to find proof in a scientific sense. Indeed God will never be proven to exist scientifically, because
he prevents it (the subject is discussed under Heading 6 in this
article). Rather, when I write the word “prove”, I mean meet the accepted standard of
proof we require to conclude that anything
is real within our day-to-day lives. In essence, the average human being
accepts things as
believable when they locate ‘genuine evidence’
which supports the standard of “beyond
reasonable doubt”. It is thereby acknowledged by us at that point,
through our power of reasoning, to be ‘real’. Of course, reaching that
point of acceptance varies from person to
person. And I will elaborate on that, and what I mean by ‘genuine
evidence’, later in this article.
that another section of
website, “Faith and reason”
to present a
‘concept’ of God’s being, and his relationship to our own existences, that is compatible with 21st Century
thought. Some people do need to understand something of that theoretically, before
trying to develop faith and belief.
I now realise that God ultimately
wants a deep one-on-one personal relationship with each of us
and to be intimately involved within our individual lives. I offer that statement,
based on my detailed analysis of God’s
presence within my own life, and the lives of those fellow Christians
who have provided me with details of their faith journeys. And that in
turn bears out what the Bible actually offers us through its advice and guidance.
as far as believing in God is concerned, it is
largely achieved by recognising his loving care and interaction with
us. In effect, we can become profoundly aware of his presence
within our lives. And that is largely what this article, and the others
that support it, is about. Of course there is more to Christian faith
and belief than
just this, but
we will also get to that later.
WHY DO PEOPLE WANT TO BELIEVE?
The practise of Christianity offers humankind many benefits
including: a meaning and purpose to life, greater contentment, an
ability to better cope with physical and emotional
pain, and importantly the ability to gain more control over life
and its outcomes, i.e. real personal freedom. A good number of us human
beings seem to miss these elements in our lives at some stage and we
know, almost automatically, that they should be found through faith if
only it could be ours!
although we might often try to forget the issue, there is no denying
that an underlying and major reason for people
embracing religion is the desire for life
death (Christians refer to it as being “saved”).
That issue itself is outside
the scope of this section of
the website. The “ Christianity
explained” section of this website does
include the subject. Simply speaking though, life after death is clearly part of the faith 'package' as far as we are concerned here.
in mind too that there are many more benefits achievable from
than the points raised here. It really changes lives for the better if we fully
WE MUST BE READY TO BELIEVE!
Due to God’s
invisibility within our world (which is discussed later under that Heading 6 already mentioned), it is almost certain that
doubts about faith will occur from time to time for even
the most committed Christian. Doubt is certainly not
thing in itself because if properly examined and evaluated, as it
arises during our walk of faith, it should lead to ever stronger belief. The article, “How
to deal with doubts” has been devoted to the subject in this
section of the website.
denial on the other hand offers no
hope of belief or faith. I maintain
that atheism in itself is baseless because there is no evidence
available, and never will be, to prevent the ‘possibility’
existence. Now atheists could
say the same about God’s existence, i.e. belief in it is baseless. And I can place myself in their shoes, because I did spend
many years as a strong willed atheist! But if, as was the case with me, they have
never looked for
that evidence; never tried faith for themselves, then their argument is
fatally flawed position.
Truly, all that is needed as a
starting point for ‘belief’
is an open mind. We actually have to be ready
EVIDENCE AND ITS FRAMEWORK
Firstly I want to make it clear that genuine faith is not
based on wishful thinking. In fact, ‘blind
faith’ is almost guaranteed to fail when it is eventually put to
the test by a
major life disaster (i.e. when it is most needed). As I have already written, just like me, you should find sound evidence of God’s
presence, on which to base your own faith and belief, if you know where to look. And
it is my aim to provide you with guidance in that regard.
But, what did I mean when I used the term “genuine evidence”
earlier in the intro, when referring to proving God’s
existence? Well, for someone of my professional background, definitions for demonstrating proof through evidence inevitably include words
like “valid”, “relevant” and “sufficient”.
In simple words that would relate to a Christian, the ‘evidence’ for building belief in God should fit the following framework. Firstly, it must be based on our own experiences (it is ‘valid’ evidence). Secondly, it must be compatible with the Bible (it is ‘relevant’ evidence). Finally, we must find enough of it to satisfy ourselves (it is ‘sufficient’ evidence).
Bear in mind that I do not mean
that one must be an expert on the Bible to begin that search. (A brief explanation of Christianity
is provided in the final section of this website.) But, however, it is true
that evidence of God’s presence actually does become all the more obvious with the growth of our Biblically based knowledge of him.
So, for a Christian, true ‘belief’ in God ultimately comes from evidence interpreted through the framework explained above.
BUILDING THAT FAITH AND BELIEF
The words “faith” and “belief” are
sometimes used interchangeably by religious writers, but on other
occasions are used in a way that gives each word a distinctive
meaning. The two terms can be used to
actually help us describe ‘the way forward’ during our search for both religious truth and related experiences in life.
In this regard, the word “faith” is used to describe a theoretical understanding, based on Bible scriptures, that we accept as truth. On the other hand, the word “belief” is used to describe, ‘what we accept as real as a result of
experiences, when they fit our evaluation framework,’ i.e. what we come to believe beyond reasonable doubt through our justifiable reasoning processes.
To a large extent one builds on the other. For example, faith is often based on a viewpoint that sits well with what we have
already accepted through the basis of evidence. And on the other hand, experience-based
evidence can also arise through putting our previously unproven faith to the test.
The development of belief in God will not occur in the same timely
for everyone of course. We are all different. Each of us are affected
by our own individual genetic bases and the environments in which
our personalities have been forged. Some of us will require
more valid and relevant evidence to believe than others,
a result. And the
extremity of belief building
events in life will obviously vary from person to person.
5.1 How do we begin our search?
Ok, so how do we start to look for all this
so-called “evidence”? In the simplest of terms, first and
need to develop a ‘personal relationship’
with God and begin to engage him within our lives (connect with him).
This normally includes joining a community of faith (a church).
is there within our lives, through that relationship, that we attempt to prove
presence beyond reasonable doubt. And It is there that we should find all the
evidence, based on Biblical guidance, we need to build belief and thus support our faith.
With guidance, it
should even be possible for you to identify some evidence of his presence in
your past life, i.e. whilst you were still an agnostic or even an
atheist. But by opening your life to him, that evidence will become
much more obvious.
I have found more than enough evidence to conclude that, as the Bible
highlights, God genuinely tries
to assist us in life, and is ready to assist all the more if we
completely open our lives to him: commit ourselves to him in faith. As
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 to him
in this way. I have consulted many other Christians who have also proven to themselves that this is true.
As suggested above, there is a need to join a ‘community of faith’: that is, a church. Bear in mind, any ‘church’ is much more than
just a building in which people meet. It is really about the people
inside. They support each other, literally as the Body of Christ,
through the building up of each others’
belief and faith and throughout the ups and downs of life itself. And I
will elaborate on this later. Bear in mind too, that God can deliver
some serious evidence of his existence within the Church, if we are
ready and willing to place ourselves in the appropriate community of
faith. I will also elaborate later on that.
I have chosen to arrange
actual evidence gathering, based on my own results, into two
specific areas: firstly, learning about and experiencing God within the Church; secondly, recognising his presence within our everyday
the practical use of faith. From my perspective, belief in God, as a
is developed most effectively through fully using these practises
concurrently. That is, continually increasing our knowledge of God and our
relationship with him, then putting that growing knowledge to use with
maturing faith, building our personal bond with him ever
upwards during the process.
I present details later, but I found that actual evidence of God’s
presence, that was most convincing to me, was available from two
sources – one from each of the two specific areas for gathering
evidence indicated above. Firstly, through involvement in the Born Again/ Charismatic
movement of the wider Church. Secondly when maintaining a deep ongoing, loyal
and trusting relationship with God. His presence becomes all the more concrete, within
ongoing relationship, as it gets ever closer.
There are certainly other areas to gain
evidence in my opinion as well. I have done my best to cover all bases in this article, and
other articles that support it, within this section of the website.
Anyway, let us firstly examine how we can enter into a relationship with God, then look at the two basic areas
for building belief and faith.
5.2 Developing that personal relationship with God
do we start with this aim in mind, i.e. beginning a relationship with
God? Well, we need to apply two steps here. They are both
need to be applied during the process.
Not surprisingly, the first step involves theoretically understanding God and his potential relationship with us:
who he is, what he expects of us, what he offers us through faith; where and how his presence
can impact us; how to walk through
life with him. This step
of building knowledge is important, as you may guess, because it is very hard to believe
in anything at all without first understanding what we are trying to
believe in. In other words, searching for some fairytale god in our
lives is unlikely to lead to the long lasting belief and faith that has been
evident within Christianity for some 2,000 years.
For a brief explanation of Christianity and our God please read “Christianity
explained” on this website. It should give you a ‘head start’ in that required understanding. But further reading and study is necessary of course in the long term,
especially in regard to the New Testament (the Jesus bits). The outcome of your
Bible studies, at this stage, should be greatly improved if you are guided by your church of
choice (see the next heading in this article).
The all important second step
begins with accepting through ‘faith’ that God really is
there, as defined within the Bible: loving each of us unconditionally
and wanting us to enter into a relationship with him. Initially we
simply just ‘accept’
or ‘suppose’ that he is in this world and within our lives. Imagining his existence in this way does
not make him any less real, as you should subsequently find out for yourself.
We should begin to regularly spend
time in his company, talking to him, looking for his guidance and
wisdom, sensing his love, and indeed being grateful that this powerful being wants a relationship with each of us. Of course, I am not saying this all happens easily for us. We are human beings after all, aren’t we?
With the passing of time God desires that the relationship will further deepen.
Essentially, he dearly loves each one of us, and wants us to come to
actually love him back. Jesus himself gave us this directive, “Love the Lord your God with all your Heart and all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” [Mark 12:30].
I completely understand that may seem a tall order when we are just starting out on the
path of faith. I admit I could not even contemplate how to actually love God
when I took my first steps of faith. Firstly, I did come to recognise that when we ‘get our heads
around’ what he actually did for us through the life and death of Jesus,
we are encouraged to open our hearts towards him. I can say with confidence that recorded
historical events actually support the Biblical account of events,
rather than challenge them. Secondly and
importantly for myself, the relationship between God and
me slowly but surely kindled deeper emotions as I relaxed
into it. Of course this just travels along at a pace relative to each
of us individually.
Finally though, you
may wonder does he want a relationship with you? My word he does! Our
God loves each one of us dearly. Actually, the Bible tells us that It does not matter what bad things we have
done in the past, because he has already ‘cleaned the slate‘. We really can accept, through faith, that he
did that over two thousand years ago when Jesus (God incarnate) died on
the cross. Hence one of his titles is, “Lamb of God”.
He sacrificed his life to redeem/ pay for our wrongdoings,
so that all we have to do now is concentrate on our relationship with
5.3 Experiencing God within
a community of faith
One of the first steps towards actual Christian faith and belief should be to join that ‘community of faith‘, i.e. a church, as I suggested earlier. The
Church is essentially the fellowship that nurtures and sustains
As already advised, attendance in that community of faith firstly offers
us an environment to learn theoretically about our God and
his relationship to us: to assist with the development of our faith. There will be Bible readings and
interpretations for example. And
almost every ‘faith‘ leader (pastor, priest, father, vicar, minister etc),
will give sermons (talks) detailing how Christian faith relates to
can also be led into a better understanding of the Bible,
possibly by taking part in after-hours classes when you are ready.
What can I say? There is so much wisdom apparent there in the Bible.
And please do not underestimate the possibilities because it was
so long ago. No, it is still very relevant to us today in our 21st
Century society. And interestingly, it can work just as well
in the affluent West as it does in poorer developing nations. I know
that all this Bible stuff might not look too exciting to the
uninitiated (mmm yes, I felt the same way myself once). Anyway please
try it. It really is worth the effort.
Undoubtedly, from my analysis, regular attendances (i.e.
congregating with God’s faithful followers in
also provide evidence
that God is present in this setting – if we are open to his
loving presence. With regards to faith,
coming together of believers, and that provides God
opportunity to make his presence all the more evident.
doubt that I am special in
that I have witnessed, and experienced for
myself, some very credible belief and faith building stuff within the
wider Church. The supporting article, “God within the Church”,
in this section of the website, discusses the types of events
in detail that may indeed be witnessed or experienced there.
is a matter of individual choice
whether we attend a branch of the Protestant church: Traditional/
Mainline, Evangelical, Pentecostal or alternatively seek fellowship within a Catholic
own personalities are often better aligned with one approach or
are significant benefits and issues to be aware of, specific to each
type of church. The choice in
serious deliberation. I have tried to provide
assistance within that article,
“God within the Church”.
I have already stated that one particular area of the greater Church offers more upfront evidence of God’s presence than others. I have actually had
rocked’ in the
attending services within the Born Again or Charismatic movement.
Although Pentecostal churches were the founding force of this
‘movement’, there are now many other communities of faith, i.e. in most of the Christian church groupings previously mentioned, that provide related services and events.
It is no surprise that this area of Christian fellowship is fast
growing. After you find a genuine church of this nature, you will have a
good chance of experiencing quite powerful ... I could say “dramatic” at times ... evidence of God’s presence
in and through services. The events that are available to be witnessed are described in St Paul’s letters in the Bible’s New Testament. [Please see 1 Corinthians 12
in the Bible.] At this point, please bear with me and resist dismissing
what I have written. And remember that my career was based on the ability
to effectively analyse and reason.
Bible explains that the events, which I will get to shortly, occur as a
direct result of the manifestation of so-called “gifts of the Spirit”. These gifts are held by those, within the congregation, who have already been anointed/ touched by the Holy Spirit – just
as it happened over 2,000 years ago in the early Christian Church. This
particular Holy Spirit driven revival, now underway throughout the
world, actually ‘took off’ in the early 1900s. Similar spiritual revivals have
occurred previously in earlier centuries as well, as and when the
Spirit had seen fit to empower them.
It all sounds a bit hard to believe, you might think? And yep, I cannot deny that! Well ... like me,
you will be surprised if you head into that area of the greater
my early days of exposure to it, I deeply analysed the events. All I
can write here is: I both witnessed and experienced serious stuff
happening again and again. I saw real and significant healings, direct and pertinent messages of advice
passed on from God to individuals including myself, people speaking in so-called “tongues”.
What else can I say? It happened. And I just cannot see any rational explanation of causality other
than spiritual. I had to personally get involved; be on the actual receiving
end. And I did that! If you too want solid evidence, that really fits that
evaluation framework I previously described, then you can try this for
If you wish
to go straight to
that Born Again/ Charismatic subject now, then begin reading at Heading 4, “Experiencing the Holy Spirit’s presence” in the article I continually refer to, “God within the Church”. Bear in mind though, that some of the churches in ‘the movement’ may not work well for everyone in the long term. Personally, I just ‘bit the bullet’
and attended them. I am very pleased at this stage in my spiritual
journey that I did so. I want to make it clear though that, although
the available experiences are belief building to say the least, they
are not to be viewed as the ‘be all and end all’
when building Christian faith. They are to be understood as a means to build
up belief which can, in turn, support our Bible based faith.
As I have already indicated there are plenty of church options
available to us.
The presence of God can generally be recognised within all types of
Christian churches, but it can be a lot more subtle in some of them. Again
please access the article,
“God within the Church” to better understand how different areas of the greater Church operate, and what happens within services.
Maybe you did
try the Church years ago and it didn’t work for you then. I sympathise because I had
there, done that’
myself and it had not worked for me first time round either. (Looking
back now, however, I can see I rejected an offer of help from God at
that time.) But
everything changed for me, many years later, during the second attempt.
So, I encourage you to read the
above article with an open mind. I have been
careful not to cajole or exaggerate. I have tried to honestly
explain it as I see it.
practising Christian, I am
that everyone’s belief and faith grows much faster through regular church
are very positive outcomes from strong faith, so it is worth putting in
hour or two weekly with these communities of faith, to be a party to their services on a regular basis.
That contact with the Church can also assist
to more readily understand the beauty of Christianity, a
religion that emphasises the loving nature of God; the concept
Once a genuine understanding of ‘grace’ is realised, one’s
outlook of God is changed forever. Do not underestimate the term’s
significance. It relates directly to God’s unconditional love for each one of us. I unashamedly go on and on about grace, but please bear
With time, those who attend churches inevitably
develop a strong bonding with others in the congregation. That bond is
grounded in common faith. Unless there is
something drastically amiss within that fellowship, it will stand by
and support any member facing major life issues. From my experience
they will go the ‘extra mile’, ready to assist as well or even
more strongly than our closest un-churched friends.
Importantly, indeed very importantly, we do need
baptized; become true members of the Body of Christ (the Church), as
soon as we can feel
comfortable with that –
once we have come to see that something genuine and life
changing is being offered to us. There will be a requirement
to accept Jesus
as Lord and Saviour within the process. I fully understand, as an
ex-atheist, that personal
comfort with such a
position may seem a long
way off at first. But, trust me, when you look into it with an open
mind, the specialness of being a member of the Body of Christ will grow
on you as a positive option faster than you would expect!
Indeed God, in the person of the Holy Spirit, can really open our hearts and minds to this option if he literally gets ‘half a chance’. Sounds a bit way out? Mmmmmm! Just wait and see for yourself.
5.4 Recognising God's
presence within our daily lives
The second category for gathering
genuine evidence is the
application of faith within our day-to-day lives. What I mean here is
just leave your belief and faith building behind when you walk out of weekly
church services. Ultimately this is about learning to walk
with God; fully
engaging him within our day-to-day lives and thereby recognising his presence
there. Bear with me, and I will elaborate soon on how I came to believe it.
first decided to ‘have
another crack’ at faith, i.e. to test it out, I struggled to find a
point for this type of belief building. Eventually though, I figured that I
should trial what actually was
on offer in the
Christian Bible – as to how God can interact with us in daily life – and then put it to the test! Of course, I am certainly not saying that I am the first to have done this.
And I am not saying that
jumps off the Bible’s pages at you either! I mean I thoroughly analysed those
in mind that I undertook that evaluation decades ago. So I have had
plenty of time to put the results to the test. And I have interviewed
many other committed Christians to validate my own results. Likewise, I
have had clergy with Doctorates in Theology check out my Biblical
interpretations. And I have interacted with well qualified and
experienced clergy to ensure my findings really did fit that framework.
Getting back to the point, I have developed a
supporting article, “God within our lives”
in this section of the website, to better assist you in how to go about the
task. Although other examples of God’s
presence are mentioned, there are
major subjects that I refer to within it. One subject is prayer,
that can be used by us to bring about positive change for ourselves and
ones in particular. Indeed, we should endeavour to change the world
prayers! Prayer does
Following basic ground
rules from the Bible does help with successful outcomes and I
have laid them out as best I can, in the above mentioned article.
I do suggest there, for examples, that prayers should be kept simple,
applied with as much faith in results as possible, and continued
regularly. Negatives to be avoided during prayer are selfishness,
greed, obsessiveness and asking for inappropriate outcomes. Now the
success of prayer will never be scientifically provable (again, God
sees to that) but I am very confident indeed that you will, like me, find from
your own analysis of
results that it works none-the-less. And simply, this is because he loves us! (You will come to find this, if you stick with faith.)
In that article mentioned above, the
second subject is God’s guiding and
We can use God’s guidance to ensure we are headed in the
‘right direction’ in spiritual growth, personal relationships, family life, acquiring essential assets,
education, work, social
In fact, from analysis of my own life, the pressure exerted on us by God if
we do deviate from that ‘right direction’, whether
requested by us or not,
provides some strong evidence
of his presence there. Even an atheist, who
looks back retrospectively over his or her life, should be able to
of God’s efforts – that is
‘roadblocks’, ‘warning signs’ or ‘omens ’ that are used by him to foil our
poor decisions – to
head off seriously ‘bad moves’ in life. Yes,
I am saying that God
even tries to help atheists towards a direction in life that is in
best interest! I explain how to recognise God’s hand at work in our lives in that article, “God within our lives”.
I have described above how our loving God can guide us even without
being asked if, in his view of our lives, we are not headed in the
right direction. But if we actually acknowledge his presence in our
lives, and we look to, and even ask for, his guidance then we can
really gain the benefits that are on offer to us. And when
we do gratefully and knowingly follow that guidance, we
can then rely on providence (i.e. God’s ‘helping
hand’) to assist us towards
success in that direction. What I mean here is that, against the odds,
we just see things falling into place as we move forward.
best advice I can offer is to invite God into every
your life. Ask for
that guidance and assistance with all your important decisions and tasks ahead. Talk to him;
with him, in effect grounding yourself in his presence as you work away at
those endeavours of yours. I’d be awfully surprised if your life didn't become all the easier and
contented as a direct result. His influence should make itself
more and more obvious, as this application of faith heightens.
Mind you, I am
not saying that your
Christian life is
to be just about
you! (Indeed that is far from what is expected of us, and I repeat that guidance often.) However,
God clearly wants to help us all in our lives, and the outcome of his
assistance does help build that body of evidence upon which belief and faith can
in turn be developed. As far as I am concerned, the Bible states that God’s helping hand is available to us all, and analysis of my life again indicates that it really is there.
As one’s life passes, from my experience, the evidence
largely mounts up from subtle examples arising from the use of faith.
every so often, something seemingly iron-clad impacts. And this creates
backbone for that required ‘body of evidence’. In that
article, “God within our lives”
offered some examples from my own experiences merely to
possibilities. Ultimately, though, it is your
experiences, evaluated within that previously explained framework, that you must ‘file away’ to build and support
your own faith!
I highlighted earlier in this article, that maintaining a ‘deep’ ongoing
relationship with God could provide obvious evidence of his presence for us.
So, one final piece of advice here: the closer we lovingly walk with God, and
the more we trust him in that walk,
the greater will be the clarity of
his presence in our lives. For a starter his helping hand (providence)
will be ever more obvious as we stride forth in step with his guidance.
I can assure you, from my own experiences and subsequent
analysis of events, that walking closely with him in everyday life
highlights just how real and loving he is. I expand on that topic under Heading 5, “Walk in Trust” also in the article, “God within our lives”. I have certainly explained how to involve God more
deeply in our lives there, under that Heading.
Yes! ... Yes! ... I know all this may not be easy for a beginner to accept or even understand, because I have obviously had
the experience of being one myself. But, I can assure you that it all
just blossoms forth from within that ever deepening relationship
described above. It does take time and dedication to get there but it
really is worth it. Each of us can come to love him like a ‘bestie’ (although knowing the awesome power he
possesses and that ultimately he is the ‘Big Boss’). And boy, will he love you back. You will know that from the
sense of peace, contentment and purpose that flows into your life as a
Of course there are commitments that come with that deep relationship. It is most definitely, as the saying goes, “not just about you”. Also, what I have written in this article does not mean that life is going to be a ‘bed of roses’
for all of us of course. However, he will always be there to support us
through the bad stuff in life. I write that from experience too.
OUR INVISIBLE GOD
does God choose to be invisible? Most of us do wonder about this at some
other, and I believe it is worth an explanation from me at this point.
Belief in God would be so easy if he chose to make his
presence obvious, in a tangible sense, to us all. After all, the fundamentalist atheists
of the world would
have no argument at all if God was clearly visible to us all, eh?
That aside, why does
God hide himself? Think hard, it is not
easy to conceive of an Earth where God is actually
where everyone is totally aware of his presence on a daily basis.
Such knowledge of God’s
being would, in fact, seriously impact both our freedom
and way of life as we know them now. They would be transformed
existence not unlike the one the Jews had within the Biblical Book of
Exodus (as they fled from slavery in Egypt). Like them, we could have an
in-your-face God, with an obvious involvement in our lives. Most
probably every action, every decision in life, would be over shadowed
by that awesome presence.
However, when aware of God’s
existence through the use of faith, we can see that he wants another
relationship with each of us. In fact, I can see that he wants us to commit ourselves to him;
to want to know him, and build him
lives through choice rather than have it forced onto us. As I have indicated already, God’s
presence can at times actually become as obvious as if he
was physically visible.
Because we do enter into that relationship with him in the way he has
chosen for us, then inevitably from our side it becomes based on trust, love and gladness.
From God’s side in that relationship we receive all that flows from his gift of “grace”.
Although deviating a little, it is worth adding
that Christians believe that Jesus
Christ was the literal
personification of God’s grace, i.e. God’s grace made human. And in that context it was through
Jesus that our God actually revealed himself
fully to us. Most
boundless love for us human beings is highlighted in his revelation
through Christ. The relationship of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, three
persons in one God, is explained in the article, “The Holy Trinity”.
As already indicated, analysis of Biblical and ancient secular (non religious) writings do indicate that
there is a very good chance that these revealing events did actually occur
in history. Exposure
to events still occurring
in the modern day Church – through our individual personal
experiences particularly within the so-called Born Again/ Charismatic movement – even supports accounts of what is written there in the Bible. Again
we thus see that belief, based on analysis of real events in life,
is used to support Bible-based faith. Simply, if used effectively, the two (i.e.
belief and faith) go round and round as life befalls us,
building and supporting each
an atheist will really struggle with all this, just as I did
once myself. But, if you the reader desires belief in our invisible God,
and faith in his promises, then you just have to commit to trying it for yourself. The theory of
Christianity is included in the final section of this website, as I
also mentioned earlier. You can
access the Section Contents and choose articles there or begin with that
section’s Lead Article,
explained”. I do caution you again that knowledge
of Christianity alone cannot provide the
faith and belief building experiences that can be
gained through joining a fellowship of faith and attending services there.
7. ‘REAL’ PERSONAL FREEDOM
Through the ‘walk of faith’ we can
be freed from the innate bad habits and selfishness that tend
down. There is no need anymore to worry
about things that might go wrong; be overly concerned about making mistakes
use them to build us up); keep up with
Joneses; ‘suck up’ to
get on in life; or
be fearful of anything! This is real personal freedom.
Accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Love the Lord. Follow God’s
will, including Biblical directions. Aim for holiness rather than
worldliness as best you can. These should all be our basic goals as Christians. God
expect us to be perfect. No, he just wants us to try to live the life he wants of us. This too,
strangely you might think, assists us to realise our personal freedom. Actually it leads to a life where we are most likely to enjoy true peace and contentment.
As I see it, each of us can reach our spiritual
and personal potential in life, if
we can keep in
touch with God’s plan, or intentions, for us. Note that when I say “plan” I mean what God sees as the best way for us as
individuals to achieve
most good in all facets of
our lives and attain
that contentedness in life. (I am talking about the so-called “Will of God”
here.) Note also that this potential doesn’t relate
to the kind of personal success that the media projects as desirable,
for example financial riches or fame. Personally, I do not
believe that our
lives are mapped out from the moment we are conceived, or anything
like that. In fact, for most of us I consider that God’s
plan is fluid and adjusts to our choices in life (right or
Remember that God, although pervading
and sustaining the universe from within, also transcends it. Thus, because his basis is external to
our universe’s space/ time continuum, God instantly
‘sees’ the future outcomes
of the actions we are planning. Imagine the value of having a
can do that!
Again ... yes ... as I have already indicated, do not get the impression that life will always be ‘smooth sailing’.
God has made no such promise. Life will still have its ups and downs,
whether we have faith or not. Pain and suffering will inevitably occur
somewhere through life. Please see the article, “Suffering and Evil”.
It is true to say that we will be better
able to cope with life’s hard knocks, when they do occur, as a result
of our faith.
Importantly though, the more we are able to
place discipline in our lives and look to God’s so-called plans for us
(with his help of
course), the more ‘freedom’ we shall achieve. That sounds
it? But it is true! It does not mean a boring life either. Again, from
experiences, there can be plenty of excitement along the
Of course it is up to every one of
us as to how far to go with this, and at what stage in life. What I can
that true peace
and real freedom grows in
proportion to how far we do choose to travel down this path.
Every day can become a close walk with the Lord –
life is thus
sanctified. If we are willing to get to that stage in life, God then
becomes a glaringly obvious presence. I cannot in all truth say that
I am an example of one who has continually stayed on that close
walk, but I do know how gratifying it is when I do so. And I do mean that!
On the formal front, there is a need
to enter that community of faith (the Church) as soon as possible.
So much can
is also necessary to understand and appreciate his word (the
Bible). Guidance from experts
here to gain best value. Advice from knowledgeable church leaders will
be of great value during sermons/ talks etc. Numerous publications, often
on a monthly or quarterly basis, exist
at Christian bookshops to lead you through the Bible so that you will
overwhelmed by the sheer number of pages confronting you. Such books
and periodicals will
you from reading more into individual verses than appropriate, by
theological views based on the whole
Bible not just the words in front of you.
I again emphasise that we should not underestimate the positive
benefits that can be gained through Biblical knowledge. For example, the Bible
includes a whole-of-life philosophy that will never let us down.
For most of us rational, somewhat
cynical humans, faith does not just arrive like a
ready-to-go computer program or i-phone app. We cannot just load it into
our brains and believe!
Faith is generally accumulated, getting stronger and stronger,
as our knowledge and experiences of it befall
Let us be honest and admit that most of us are
bit lazy. Some are more so than others (maybe that includes me). You
know what I mean: why not put off
going to church, or setting aside time for prayer until tomorrow or
after? I don’t think it is uncommon for even God’s most
faithful to keep
their relationships with him on the ‘backburner’ at times.
We might like to
think that we only need call on him when we
want him, when things go wrong? Unfortunately, it does not work best
Under these circumstances, belief and faith grow slowly.
As I have already stated, it is
absolutely true with faith that the more we put in then the
more we get
my closing advice is – go for it! It is a different way of
life, and it does
bring responsibilities with it. But, the meaning and purpose
to your life is profound stuff. The greatest outcome is
Again, the final section of this
website provides the basis of
Lead Article, “Christianity explained” offers
my opinion on what
sets the religion apart from its monotheist
siblings, Judaism and
have also tried to demystify it. As complex as it might appear to an
Christianity has simple core truths.
And to my mind, the
religion is largely self proving ... but that is all explained!