Monday, November 09, 2015

Faith: Doubts & Questions

Do you have doubts and questions about faith in Jesus Christ? I don't think that's a bad thing. In fact, those very same doubts and questions have probably been the biggest catalyst for my spiritual growth. For that reason, I'd like to invite you to explore Genesis chapter 3 with me.

In the past I've posted about Genesis 3, and how it tells Satan "The Enemy of God and Mankind". Today I would like to talk about his tactics. First, let us read the text.

Genesis 3 (ESV, footnotes in [ ])
3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You[plural] shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise,[giving insight] she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool[wind] of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”[singular] 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you[singular] that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Satan had a plan in action. He suggested disbelief as a fitting response to God's instruction. He caused doubt, questions, and demonstrated his own pride to suggest that Eve should know better than to obey God - that perhaps direct disobedience was fitting. Perhaps God is holding out on giving His best to Adam & Eve. Satan positioned himself as one wno knows better, and perhaps that he is speaking from experience. Notice that doubt-questioning is a pivotol.

I propose to you that little has changed from the time of the Genesis account until now. Satan is still using the same playbook, and millions fall for his deception.  One can either respond in faith in a relationship with Jesus, or one can turn away from the Lord. I highly doubt most of us wake up and decide we want to break the laws of God today...That we want to be a sinner. It usually goes something like this.

Some sinful thing or action looks attractive to us. We have doubt that it will really cause harm. Others have done it with good results. It's legal in some states now. Her marriage is going to soon be over anyway. No one will even know, and it's none of their business. The Supreme Court says it's legal, and everyone deserves equal rights for who they love and can marry. How could something that feels so good be wrong?

This is spiritual short-sightedness. We begin to be deceived. We doubt. We question. We begin to argue against the truth, giving ourselves over to the lie, a little at a time at first. It feels good! Those religious biggots can't tell me what to do. Before long we're enthusiastically sharing this new thing we've found, all the while unaware it is a short-term pleasure, and that sooner or later our error will be found out, accompanied by the horrifying realization that we've left God's protection. We are broken, and naked.

I don't know about you, but I'm naturally an inqusitive person, so I question much. In your own questioning, I pray you explore more than temporary pleasure. I urge you to trust the Word of the Lord, for it is reliable. You'll gain protectoin, stability, a life in the purpose you were created for, and a relationship with God. Once you've broken this relationship through pride and disobedience, as a wrong respnose to doubt and questioning, then you'll need something only God can do for you.

If you have doubts and questions, seek the Lord, not the flawed wisdom of fallen mankind. Pray. Pour over the Bible. Make a list of doubts and questions and seek the answers in a logical way. Your soul depends upon it.

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