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When this expression is used, it’s often heard along with things like “doing the will of God, crucifying the flesh, or dying to oneself.” These are not particularly simple concepts to understand. They typically mean pursuing a life pleasing to God, mirroring Jesus’ life. Before the journey for an answer can begin, there is one critical question that must be answered first, Is God real? You may wonder why this is even a legitimate question to ask self-professed Christians. Have you looked lately at who our self-professed Christians are electing to the critical offices of our States and country? They support murder: abortion takes 2,300+ innocent lives a day just in the US. Our leaders support the importation of fentanyl. A grain of fentanyl the size of a grain of salt kills. We lose over 100,000 young lives a year just in the US to this one drug alone. And not let us forget the war against our children’s very souls. When parents abrogate their responsibility to raise children who know God’s Truth, the question of whether we believe God exists becomes a legitimate question. [see Lostpine’s Study: Has the World Gone Mad] Because if He does, our world is in for a very unpleasant surprise!

For all of history, humankind has been in search of an answer, an indisputable answer, to the existence of God. The journey toward an answer has included archaeology, science, history, and literature, including the human experience. Virtually all societies on earth have a belief in a form of a Creator. This, no doubt, comes from the visible evidence of God’s existence. Think of it as “God’s footprints in the sands of the earth.” When logic is applied to those “footprints,” it is not possible to draw any other understanding for the existence of humanity unless a Creator also exists.  Much of what we assume as part of daily life, including reason, morality, and human rights requires such a belief. Therefore, the first step in our journey must be to decide on the question of God’s existence. If we can answer “yes,” the journey can begin.

Now using the Words of God, Himself, He says He exists, that nature demonstrates a Creator exists (Psalm 19:1), and that God reveals enough of Himself in the world for people to know of Him (Romans 1:20). The early Christian church was founded on the use of eyewitnesses, evidence, and good reasoning (Luke 1:1–2; 2 Peter 1:16; Acts 17:11; 1 Corinthians 14:20). Even Jesus Himself would use evidence when defending His claims (John 5:31–47).

Any good search for truth, therefore, must include the Bible. We are told that the Bible contains the inspired words of God.

(2 Timothy 3:16) 1 – “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,”

Billy Graham, a renowned theologian, was scheduled to speak at a conference in the mountains east of Los Angeles. On a warm August night, Graham took a break from his room and walked out into the woods. He came to a tree stump, where he knelt, with his Bible on the stump in front of him. In prayer, Graham confessed that he did not understand everything in the Bible. But God blessed him with the understanding that his task was not to prove God’s Words as truthful but to accept God’s Words as Truth. Billy Graham had concluded that it is only the limitations of humanity that cloud our Biblical Wisdom. 2

(2 Peter 1:21) – “For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

Everything, therefore, in the Bible was given to us for a purpose. While we may not understand that purpose because of our lack of knowledge, it should not be negated. One of Graham’s struggles had been with the book of Jonah. It is a hard story to fully embrace, the thought of surviving for days in the belly of a whale. There were no whales in the Mediterranean Sea! Yet, like so many of Jesus’s parables, the value of Jonah as a parable was just as significant as the parable of the Prodigal Son, or Jesus calming the sea of Galilee. The risk of picking and choosing God’s Words we believe is that they can leave you standing at an empty tomb with a dead Savior! To have a relationship with someone requires that they are alive, that they exist. To have a relationship with Jesus requires full faith in His death and His resurrection. The Bible is not about dead things, it is about living things, God, and His Son. They are living now with us here on earth and will live with us after our world ceases to exist.

Often hidden in the story of the Bible is the role of the Holy Spirit. Sanctification is the process of the Holy Spirit stripping away our sinful habits, convicting us to move toward a Christ-like life. It is the Holy Spirit that gives us the power to accomplish things we cannot logically do, love people that are unlovable, and provide the self-discipline to overcome sin.

(John 16:13) – “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”

Yet, Jesus might have summarized the task of following Him better than anyone when He said: “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me” (John 6:38). Do you want to follow Jesus? Then Learn God’s Truth. Where do you find God’s Truth? In God’s own Words! Jesus is co-equal in power to God the Father. Yet Jesus was willing to submit His personal will to that of God’s Will and die on the Cross. And what did Jesus end up with by His perfect submission to God’s Will?

(Philippians 2:9-11) – “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

We are now at the heart of the question behind this study. Humans have free will but turning one’s life over to Jesus means turning one’s free will over to follow God’s will. Our own interests must be put behind the interests of God. But do you know God’s interests for you? They are written in the Bible and exemplified in the life of Jesus. Your footprints on earth are meant to match “God’s footprints in the sands of the earth.” None of this is easy. Jesus told those who would follow Him, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) And we cannot follow Jesus if we don’t accept where He is trying to take us!

Can you accept that we have a living Christ who longs to show us the pathway to eternal life? If the answer is yes, the journey will be to follow Jesus wherever He leads you. Your old self, your passions, desires, wants, your earthly desires, will be left on the cross you are asked to carry for yourself. You become a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Following Jesus means recognizing Him for who He really is. Messiah. Lord. The Son of God. He is the Savior of the world. The Apostle Paul says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). Then obey His teachings. “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31).

All who follow Jesus will have a place in His Church. Find your place in “the body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12). All have been uniquely gifted to fulfill a role in His Church. The Church today needs you now more than ever. Not everyone’s relationship with Jesus will look the same nor will their journey. Just remember that with the help of the Holy Spirit, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13).

Contemplations

  • Where does your belief in God come from?
    • Ideas to Explore: Family, Church, experiences, a personal encounter, study?
  • Where do doubts about God’s existence come from?
    • Ideas to Explore: Our world, society? A personal experience? Bad experience at church?
  • What are you doing in your life to build confidence in God’s existence?
    • Ideas to Explore: Church, Read/study the Bible, read/study other materials, prayer, etc.
  • Why do you believe that Jesus is alive today?
    • Ideas to Explore: Past witnesses, personal encounters, just faith?
  • Where do you think Jesus wants your journey to go?
    • Ideas to Explore: Do you know God’s Truth? Do you know God’s will for your life? 
  • People know that they are on the correct journey by signs that their destination is getting closer. What are the signs for you?
    • Ideas to Explore: Peace, understanding, better relationships, less hatred, etc.

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. (Just As I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham, pp.135-139).
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