I have often asked myself why I believe, why I have faith in Jesus Christ. What is it that makes me believe and why?
I’ve read the Scriptures and a lot of theology. I’ve spent many hours over the years wrestling with the deepest questions and looking into the mysteries of God, but despite all of the illuminating knowledge I have gained from all this study and reflection, none of it is why I believe.
Over the years I’ve read a lot of testimonies of believers, heroes of the faith, martyrs and so on, but, as inspiring as they are, they are not why I believe.
Years ago I became fascinated by Anselm of Canterbury’s ontological argument for the existence of God:
God is the greatest thing you can think of so He must exist, because if He does not then He is not the greatest thing you can think of.
It does have an almost childish simplicity to it, but deep examination of it in light of John 1:1 leads to some very profound insights into the nature of God. But this is not why I believe.
Another argument for the existence of God is that of motion. Everything created is in motion and must have a starting point and this starting point is the Prime Mover whom we call God. It certainly makes sense, but this also is not why I believe.
When Jesus comes into people lives it is said he knocks on the door of our hearts. In my case he kicked the door down SWAT team style and profoundly changed my life to the point that I am a totally different person. When I look back on my past, I don’t recognize my actions as something I would do or even think of doing now. But this too is not why I believe.
There have been moments in my life in Christ when prayer has literally saved my life. Moments where Jesus was present in my life at that particular moment so strongly it was like He was standing in the room with me. But, as amazing as these experiences are, I don’t believe because of them.
I have come to realize that I have faith because it is a gift from God. I believe because God has given me my faith, not because of everything I’ve read, not because of all the conclusions I’ve reached through my own intellect, not because of my personal experiences. It is all the work of God and God alone.
John 15:16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”
I know that God chose me because I am far to slothful and rebellious by nature to have voluntarily chosen to give up so much of what I once valued most. Only God could make a devoted anarchist pray for the gift of perfect obedience to the greatest authority there is. Only God could make a life long lazy slob clean up and be thrilled to go to the gym and work out so hard I’m in pain for days.
I have faith because Jesus chose me and gave me that faith all I did was receive it. When I received it, it was nothing more than a mustard seed, little more than suspension of disbelief, but I allowed it to grow and it has grown into a place of rest and a home.
Luke 13: 18-19 “He said therefore, ‘What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.’ ”
Matthew 17:20 “And He said to them, ‘Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.’ “
The tiny amount of faith I started with has moved the mountains in my life that blocked out the light of God. And just receiving that tiny seed of faith God is offering will do the same to any who plants that seed and lets it grow.
What mountains has your faith moved?