Recently I discovered this note to myself from some years back. I recall the moment when I felt this challenge to become more of a believer and less of a sceptic.
‘I felt yesterday as I listened to a talk that I had a new tenderness of heart and was being encouraged to trust and believe what other people say they have seen and experienced, like Mary when she went to the disciples and said that she had seen Jesus, I would have been among those that didn’t believe her, at least you would expect so given my usual response to things. I know I’m not being asked to be gullible but I do need to be accepting of God and his various ways of working.’
It’s odd isn’t it, to speak of being challenged to be a believer when that’s exactly how I would have described myself for the last thirty-five years. But God sees our hearts and knows we have a long way to go before we believe Him in the way He deserves.
We need to take meaningful strides for this to come about, we can’t afford to be passive, hoping we will soak up some sort of ability to trust just by being in church meetings or hanging around other Christians.
We need to be willing to engage purposefully if we are to make progress and become those people we wish we were.
We do want to be trusting, don’t we?
What’s so attractive about being sceptical?
I don’t mean to say we should be gullible, that doesn’t honour God either, but to be biased toward unbelief isn’t our best trait.
We will find deepening trust if we will only open these hearts of ours and talk to our friends, letting them know we aren’t quite so impressive in the believing department as perhaps we seem.
Fear of being dismissed, or disapproved of by those around us, is a killer hurdle on our way towards trust, yet how can we grow if we won’t be open and real with those we say we are friends with? Those friends who love us and love Jesus, those who want the same sort of growth for themselves.. crazy isn’t it?
We also need to take our reserved little hearts and sceptical attitudes to Him who loves us and ask Him to do what only He can.
He is the only one who can genuinely transform our thinking for the better. It is a supernatural event to meet with Him and to have Him show us something more true than we had previously thought of Him. We can’t do this on our own, but we can begin the response to Him and start to make the progress we long for.
Thankfully, He doesn’t wait until I am how I should be, or you. He loves us as we are in the here and now.
He listens to the prayers we whisper in the night, He answers the half developed thoughts which we fear have no right to be called real prayer, and shows up with them fully realised, fleshed out, kindly imagined in full for us.
What a kind Father He is.
When we see this happening our response changes, becoming something more tender than it has been before.
Even our worship will change, after all, worship is our response to a revelation of who He is, when He shows us more of Himself and His ways, we can’t stay the same, we find our hearts called up higher, we discover a need to express our love, trust, and worship, in new ways. We find a generosity of spirit towards others’ stories of the Spirit at work, a willingness, and a growing hunger, to experience more of a life in the Spirit for ourselves.
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
We can afford to take the risk to ask, and keep on asking, He has said He will answer our heart’s cry with more than we can imagine.
We may find we become believing believers. Then what might happen?