How do I know that what I believe about God is true?
I’ve been going to church my entire life. I’ve heard a similar message in each church, although it has taken on the personality, background, theological training or lack of theological training, of whoever happened to be presenting what they called “truth”.
I’ve been in circles where people thought I had a lot to offer and I’ve been in circles that didn’t think I have much to offer at all. Most of the time I’ve been seen through the lens of other peoples perceptions and beliefs, by people who have never taken the time to really get to know me.
Those few who have really gotten to know me have come to some conclusions that were fair, based on what they have seen in me. Some good. Some bad. The mixed bag truth that exists as a result of 56 years of life, choices, culture, upbringing, experiences, sin, and sanctification.
We all think that the way that we see God and this world is the right way. But the reality is, if we take the time to really look beyond our own lives, experiences, and circumstances, we will see that we have barely scratched the surface. We are all limited in our perspectives.
So how do I know that what I believe about God is “right”? How do I fight through the discouragement of noise and opinion? The careless comments made by others that settle into my soul and remind me that we, as humans, rarely truly see each other. We rarely see past our own perceptions, judgements, and opinions.
I see the need to distance myself from the noise and opinions. I see the need to focus as much as possible on what has (and always will) stand the test of time. The Bible. I am striving to continue to fix my focus there and hide myself in what I find. To sift the opinions and criticisms of others. To sift every sermon, conversation, and message found in a book or online, and look for the Word of God in each word that God allows to trickle into my brain.
Almost 6 decades. That’s how long I have been allowed to live. Up until about the middle of the 4th decade I felt pretty confident that I knew “something”. As I have been living in the 5th decade, I’m coming to the realization that I really don’t know much. I am pressing more and more into the Word and into God. I am offering to others more of God and less of me, my life experience, my culture, and my “training”. The 5th decade has become more of “You need God!” and less of “You need me!”
I’m continuing to learn, and as I offer God to others I am aware that He is fully capable of revealing His true self to them and I need to get out His way.
I’ve been attending church for 56 years and have been immersed in the Christian college and Seminary culture from 1984 – 2014. I’ve heard countless debates, interpretations, and views about what’s “right” and what’s “wrong”. With each student, professor, pastor, and congregant came a well meaning, sincere, limited understanding. Many of these views have been held tightly by the clutched hands of a person who felt they were “right”.
There is a danger of walking around with a pride filled heart, feeling like we have it all figured out. Sadly, when we slip into this way of thinking, we can often drag people down this road with us. Stunting their growth and stunting our own growth.
When a person comes to the conclusion that they have it all figured out that is when they stop learning.
I am not losing my faith in God. I have lost my faith in people, and that is the best place for me to be. I want to learn from the people that God puts in my life, but not put my faith in them. And I don’t want anyone to put their faith in me. I want to continue learning and putting my faith in God so that I can tell those that come behind me:
HE is faithfuL and don’t ever stop learning.