Life: God sends his son

 • The Bible Studies for Life lesson for Aug. 4 focuses on Matthew 4:17-24; John 1:1-2, 11-14, 18, 29.

Throughout history, people have come to know Jesus in many different ways. Some accepted him almost as soon as they heard his story. For others, a long journey of questions and seeking finally led them to trust Christ. One of my friends says the Holy Spirit overcame her in such a way, she cannot explain what took place, but she is certain of the reality of Jesus in her life.

Faith is complex yet incredibly simple. Faith is something we do and something we have. Faith is given to us by God and is something we exercise. Faith is required not only for salvation, but for full life here on earth. Faith is tough.

I have known many who have stood at the line of faith and have hesitated. Unanswered questions form a wall that seems insurmountable. Many want proof before they put their trust in Jesus. Proof of something you cannot see is tough to come by. Our intellect gets in the way.

Looking for proof

Paul Sands, one of my seminary professors, put it this way: “I have been married for more than 25 years. Twenty-six years ago, if someone had asked me if I was sure we would be together ’til death do us part, I could not have answered with absolute certainty. I hoped we would, but there was no guarantee. We had dated for two years and had spent time talking through critical life issues.

We had met one another’s families and had talked in depth about the family we wanted in the future. We knew one another’s likes and dislikes, and to the best of our ability, we wanted to take this leap of faith and see if it could be for life. We stood there on our wedding day knowing we had enough background, history and facts to choose to get married and begin this life together. Did we know with absolute certainty it would be forever? No. But we had enough ‘evidence’ to give it a try.

“Now if you ask me today, my answer is different. Today, I know with absolute certainty we will be married ’til death do us part. You see, over the course of 25 years, we have endured together. We have had different careers and have purchased several different homes. We have been up all night with sick babies. We have known both success and failure in disciplining our children. We have had financial struggles that brought us to our knees, and known blessings that brought us to tears. We have experienced the aging of our parents and have survived intense grief. We have been tired, happy, excited, fearful, hopeful and discouraged together. And we have experienced each emotion a thousand times over.

“Today, I know with certainty we will be together ’til death do us part, because I have proof. I have proof of the experience of marriage with my wife. I married her because I had enough evidence and reason to believe it was worth taking a leap of faith, and each day we live becomes a piece of proof that we will make it another.”

A growing certainty

Faith in Christ is similar. We read Scripture, we attend worship services, and we learn facts about Jesus and the life he came to bring. We hear about others’ faith and the way Jesus has moved and worked in their lives. We have enough evidence and information to take a leap of faith and to believe. But as we walk with Jesus, and as we pray and learn to listen for his voice, each day we live becomes proof he is alive.

We experience his presence as we sing hymns in worship on Sunday mornings. We experience the truth of his word as we obey his commands. We know peace only he can bring as we endure hardship and grief. We know his hope when we look at this world, yet are certain there is more. Our life with him begins with enough evidence to take a leap of faith, and each day we walk with him becomes proof of his power, promises and presence.

Knowing Christ and living the life he has called us to live requires faith. It calls for action before there is a clear plan. It demands trust without knowing the outcome. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

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