It occurs to me that when I accepted the Bible as truth and Jesus as my Savior, it brought me hope, but also fear of what this would require of me. In the first verses of 1 Thessalonians, Paul, Silas and Timothy wrote that the young church had received God’s word with “power, the Holy Spirit, and deep conviction.” They likely turned 180 degrees from their sin to follow God. I turned 20 degrees, 90 degrees and sometimes 360 degrees right back into the sin I knew I should flee. My faith and obedience grows slowly as I place pleasing God above pleasing others.
It seems that I have always known in some way that there is a God, and I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior when I was 18 years old. Over the years I have shared my faith with others, but that is all I’ve shared – faith. Last week a light bulb went on – I had an “aha” moment – when at my first Apologetics conference three verses converged on me:
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness.” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV)
“You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.” (Hebrews 5:12 NIV)
“I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.” (1 Corinthians 3:2 NIV)
Suddenly I realized that my Christianity is too heavily based on faith. I must also be able to articulate what I believe and why I believe it. How can I effectively share my faith if I’m not really sure why I believe? I was challenged to consider what would happen to my faith and effectiveness if my faith was supported with historical facts and deeper knowledge of the Bible. Who wants to look ignorant? I hate being laughed at for being stupid – just ask my husband who has been entertained at my expense, then suffered the consequences (in love of course).
History and geography were never strong subjects for me, probably related to my poor memory when it comes to dates and places. At least that’s been my excuse. No more. I lapped up the milk fed to me at the conference last week, and I’m going to keep it up until I move on to solid food! Sharing my faith without facts is lazy. While the Holy Spirit is able to overcome my lack of preparation, imagine the confidence gained and the blessing reserved for me when I am able to communicate the facts supporting my faith intelligently.
James 1:5 (NIV) says “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” So I am praying for wisdom and doing my part to seek it through the resources He has provided. Jud Boies, one of the Apologetics conference instructors, provided the most exciting material for my first helping of liquid diet. He asked us to imagine entering the time traveling DeLorean car from the Back to the Future movie and going back 2016 years. When we arrived, exited the car and asked someone passing by what year it is, what would they say? It’s 2014 now, so that would put us at 2 BC, except that Christ was not yet born. So, depending where you landed, it was the 21st year of Caesar Augustus, or the 27th year of Emperor Suinin, etc., just as we are currently in the 6th year of President Obama. So, what happened 2014 years ago that was so significant that it trumped the world rulers and changed the way we tracked time? What was it that also changed the traditional Sabbath day of rest & worship from Saturday to Sunday? Jesus of course! God sent his Son to the earth to live and die for our sins.
So launched my deeper desire to really know why I believe!