Christians themselves often are quick to point out that our faith is heavily based upon a personal experience that cannot be explained in human terms. There certainly is a transcendent reality to which we are exposed when truly encountering Christ. We use words like “supernatural,” “spiritual,” and “revelation,” which indicate that there is a reality that is higher and deeper than what can be simply experienced with our five senses.
Throughout the Biblical story we see individuals who have been touched and transformed by this awesomeness, this overwhelming sense that God is far beyond anything the human mind can comprehend! There is even a taste of what we understand as heaven in our experience of God, and the realization that what we see, hear, touch, taste and smell is not all that there is.
A big part of Christian worship around the world is about entering into that transcendent realm where we are more conscious of God than anything else. This wondrous state of being puts everything else into proper perspective. Ideally, this experience, this different perspective will carry over into other aspects of our lives, empowering us to glorify God even in difficult situations.
Knowing of this transcendent reality, should we then jettison reason altogether in favor of personal subjective experiences? Some would suggest this very thing, along with even denying the value of our physical senses.
Today I would urge extreme caution when hearing this kind of language. It is the very language of many cults and fanatics who dislike having their words and actions questioned!
In fact, Jesus did not withhold from Thomas the evidence that would clear away his doubts. He also insisted that each of us should love the Lord our God will all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. John explained that one cannot truly love God, whom we have not seen if we do not love our brother, whom we have seen with our physical eyes.
The fact is, that it was God who created us as spiritual, physical, emotional and rational beings!
Faith itself is actually a persuasion, that is something that has come about through serious consideration. This is what the apostle Peter, one of Jesus’ closest friends when He walked this earth, was attempting to say in his first letter, chapter 3:14-15:
“But if you suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are you: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you, a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”
Notice what he did not say. He did not tell believers to answer inquirers with irrational statements or to tell them to “take a leap into the darkness.” They were told to prepare beforehand in order to present the logical reasoning that brought them to this place of faith.
Throughout the Acts and the letters in the New Testament we observe many powerful arguments attempting to convince others that faith in Christ was the most reasonable course of action available. Even in the face of death these witnesses could be emboldened by the historical reality of Christ’s resurrection!
Even though they knew that the Truth of the Gospel was too big and too marvelous for our human minds to fully comprehend, they told it anyway. Why? Because they also knew that the same Spirit of God that was within them and prompting them to speak, would also be on the other end convicting many of the truth of their words!
“As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead.”
“So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.”
“Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.”
Here is where heaven, the invisible, spiritual realm, and earth, the physical realm come together. God calls us to come and reason with Him! We are to realize that His thoughts are so much higher than ours, but that He is still ready and willing to share them with those who humbly submit to Him. It is not that we abandon our God-given capacity to think, but that we abandon that poisonous tendency to think independently from Him!
Early in my Christian life I discovered that some of my questions and opinions had to be set aside in favor of a higher dimension of thought. We are told in Proverbs 3:5 to “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and to lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.”
This is not “blind faith,” but an interaction that goes on between us and God. When people began to call for blind trust in their revelation of God, I became worried. I could not find this approach in the Bible. Even Moses, when called of God to go back to the elders of Israel, knew that they would need a reason to believe he had heard from God.
After forty years of seeking for and discovering the wisdom of God, there are still many things that I do not understand. I have made many mistakes and have failed Him numerous times. I have confused my will with His will, but not because of a lack on His part. He has always provided what was necessary, if I would only listen to His Word.
I am still learning every day, and hopefully will continue to learn to think about things the way He thinks.
This one thing happens when we trust in the Lord with all of our hearts: our vision becomes clearer. We can have “the eyes of our understanding opened,” we can become “transformed by the renewing of our minds.” Over and over again we have seen individuals whose intellectual capacity has increased from time spent with the very One Who made these amazing brains of ours! (Ephesians 1:18, Romans 12:2)
This is not a time to be “dumbing down” to the level of so many in our culture! This is a time to be clear headed, clear thinking, not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is for our generation! While we gladly resign the final outcome of history to our all-wise God, we can still relish the opportunity He gives us to participate in it!
Believers in Christ can for His glory advance in every worthwhile field of endeavor, because they are called to be “the light of the world, a city set on a hill that cannot be hid.” (Matthew 5:14) Perhaps some will be called upon like Joseph and Daniel, to solve some of the nation’s problems! Others might become experts in family matters, social, legal or even economical issues, for they have sober, un-clouded minds, that is they are not drunken with vain philosophies or obsessions over worldly riches that fade away.
They have been sitting in the counsel of the wisest Being of all, our Lord, Savior and Creator Jesus Christ!, Who has given to us every reason to trust in Him!