.. If so, you are in good company. Polls show that most of us believe in God, and even pray. But we still have questions. We may wonder if faith is rational. "How can I know if God exists, and if He does, does He really care?"
Some describe it as a hunger or thirst for more. We may have gone down the "if only" road: if only I had more money, a nicer car, bigger house. Or, if only I could experience this or that, that would bring purpose to my life. But then, after climbing the ladder, so to speak, we look back and say, "Is that all there is?" "Isn't there a purpose to life, something that will give meaning?" And we wonder if God could give us purpose?
Others have been brought to the end of their rope by the stresses of life. It could be marital or family responsibilities, illness, the death of a loved one, or something else out of our control. We try to keep a stiff upper lip. But on the inside we know that, as strong as we may try to be, the reality is that we feel helpless. We long for strength beyond ourselves to help us cope. And we wonder if God could be that strength?
Still others realize that the stresses in their life are their own doing. Whatever it might be, we can look back and see that we are living with the consequences of our own choices. And we wonder if God can love someone who has been down the path we have chosen?
These are THE important questions, the kind of questions that the Bible describes as spiritual seeking. As you seek, consider the following: we believe that everyone is on a spiritual journey. We also believe that you matter to God, and that the answers to your questions are within reach. If you're a "seeker", that's a great thing to be, because according to Jesus, seekers find what they're looking for.
I go to church regularly, doesn't that make me a Christian?
It may help to make a distinction between having a relationship with God and practicing the religious aspects of Christianity. There is also a difference between an intellectual knowledge of Christ and having a relationship with God. Many of us seek God through a process of inquiry, and that may include church attendance. But at some point in our spiritual seeking, we come to a decision: will we trust in Jesus Christ as the way to a relationship with God? Faith is personalizing the message of Christ. It is trusting in what He did for us personally by dying for our sins.
The outcome of our faith is sometimes referred to as spiritual birth. Just as physical growth follows physical birth, spiritual growth follows spiritual birth. The learning environment found in church is an important part of the spiritual growth process. But spiritual growth follows a decision to trust Christ, and Him alone, as our means of forgiveness and relationship with God. It is this faith decision that makes us a Christian.
At Grace, we're all about this spiritual journey, helping each other move toward God. If you have further questions about this exciting journey of faith, please contact the church via phone or email. We would appreciate the opportunity to communicate with you, pray for you, and help you on your spiritual journey. We believe there is nothing more important than finding answers to these key spiritual questions. Here are some suggestions for you as you are seeking:
- Start reading the Bible. Start with a New Testament book, like the Gospel of Mark (be sure to use an understandable translation like the New Living Bible or The New International Version). You will begin to see a beautiful story unfold, of God's love for all people. Paul the apostle, author of part of the New Testament, describes this: "In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God's holy apostles and prophets... His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence." Ephesians 3:4-5, 10-12
- Talk to someone who professes to be a Christian. Ask them questions about what they believe and why. Write down your spiritual questions and present them to a knowledgeable Christian.
- Give Church a try. The church is where we learn to love God and to be loved by Him. Remember - the church isn't perfect. It's just a group of people struggling along in their spiritual journey. Some of those people are probably right in the same place that you are.
- Keep seeking God. David, a king of Israel, wrote these words in a psalm about his own experience of seeking God's help: "But in my distress I cried out to the LORD; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry reached his ears." Psalm 18:6