God is easy to believe in. Well at least for me God has always been easy to believe in. Atheists sound like idiots to me. Just the whole idea that scientifically, energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Then we go back to the Big Bang and we create the universe from nothing. Whooops…. Little problem there. So, atheists buy into the whole scientific model as proof for no God, except when it comes to the creation of everything. Seems a little arbitrary, convenient, and circular. <SIGH> Call me simple, but I don't really care about dinosaurs, craters in the Mexican ocean and the pyramids. This is all as fascinating as Big Foot to me. I believe in God. I believe that He created everything, when I talk with Him, He listens and He answers in ways I see and don't see. I believe that is personal and forever. That "belief" word is code for "faith."
I have had a lot of miracles in my life that reinforce my set of beliefs. If you read this whole book, I'll tell those stories, but this chapter isn't about that, so let's stay on point here. God is a whole lot easier to believe in than the idea of Jesus being His son, coming to earth for 33 and half years, teaching and then being sacrificed as the last sacrifice to atone for our worldly sins. In the words of Keanu Reeves in every single one of his movies, "Whoa!"
Challenge #1 - I don't have to believe in Jesus, just God.
You would think with twelve years of Christian education that I would believe that Jesus was God's son, was sacrificed for our sins and I would know why. Nope. No clue. Kind of a fairy tale for me really. I figured that I had read enough of the Old Testament to know that it was about Jewish people and I wasn't Jewish, so why would I care. The promises were for a Jewish savior, they didn't like Him, they killed Him, and didn't believe in Him, and so that was that. These were people who killed thousands of bulls and sheep. I couldn't believe anything was left to eat after all of these ceremonies. They all fought each other so often and so many people died that I could not believe any one was left. I had it all figured out. A really decent lie has to fool the prosecutor, and this prosecutor was God, so I knew I had to have my facts straight.
This lie carried me a long way, another twenty plus years. Not so much in my mouth, because I could declare, but down deep in my heart, I didn't believe. Small groups from church are often great for peeling back your lies and mine did for me. The first thing they did was take me back to the promise of the Old Testament. I was reminded that a prophet would come for all people, and all of the prophecies about Jesus' coming (Isaiah 59:20)were revisited. This conversation was so convincing that I realized that Jesus' had been foretold. Ok- I was half convinced, but the sacrifice piece did not make any sense. They had been doing the bulls, calves, doves, sheep, grains, and so on. It was a lot of them. They had to be unblemished and all of these descriptions - to my ears it was like crazy idol worship.
It just hit me, (ok, probably in one of our studies through the Holy Spirit getting my attention), that the sacrifices were all the best that these people had (Leviticus 22:20). This was the first and best, putting God first and best in the lives of His people . However, they had gotten stuck in the doing that many had forgotten their reasons for their actions. The number of things sacrificed was now more important than the honoring of God's bounty and provision as well as the placement of our sacrifice of recognizing God as the provider.
Well, if the best animals are not going to be sufficient, grains are not going to be sufficient, how are you going to provide something worthy of demonstrating a sacrifice showing that God is first (Hebrews 9:14?)You can’t. It has to come from God, has to be God and has to be sacrificed in some way like the sacrifice that the other sacrifices had been made. Ok, now I get it.
The prophets had foretold that this was coming; it would have to come to reconcile God's chosen people to Him because thousands of years of trying other reconciliation worship always failed.
Jesus preached peace, love, forgiveness, provision, and selflessness. The idea of salvation and concern from the things of this world to the promise of His Father were blasphemy in many ways because they directed people back to God and away from this world.
God's Son, Jesus, now clicked for me as the deliverance of a promise to us made for hundreds of years as a way to come home to the Father. God made a promise to all of us that He would send His son as a perfect sacrifice to redeem us and reconcile us to Him. If you believe in the promises of God for this life and the next, then you have to belief in the truth of Jesus Christ (Isaiah 49:7).
Challenge #2 - I don't have to believe in the Holy Spirit.
“The Holy Ghost,”was how I was raised to refer to the Holy Spirit. When I was in school, we were taught very little about the Holy Spirit except that you were not really to bring it up very much. It was like saying "Lord Voldemort" and suddenly he might appear. Maybe to "getchya!," I really don't know. At one point the Holy Spirit was explained to me as the "love between God the Father and God the Son." Being curious, I asked, "Is he a real thing or person?" and was told, "not in the way that you and I think of him." Helpful, right? A bit like advanced calculus, something I'm also not using every day.
By now, I'm so in. I am in with God. I am in with Jesus. I AM IN!!! Holy Spirit… doesn’t see a real need for the third guy. Three is a lot. I pray every day to God or Jesus. When I am in my car and listening to spiritual music, it's almost always about God or Jesus. At church, kind of the same thing; there is an implied GodHead, three-in-one, but I don't have to really get it in order to worship. The Holy Spirit must not be very important if no one is focusing on Him very much, right?
The Son of God thought and thinks the Holy Spirit is a big deal. Jesus actually left Him here to be a personal counselor to each of us(Acts 2:2-4). So important is the Holy Spirit that Jesus our Savior said that with the Holy Spirit, we could do what Jesus had done when He was on earth and much more (John 14). Jesus said that the one unforgivable sin was the denial of the Holy Spirit. There are many scripture passages of materialization of the Holy Spirit within the disciples. An amazing gift is that the Holy Spirit knows our needs even though we do not pray for them; He even intercedes on our behalf(Romans 8:26-27).NOTE: The scripture in Romans 8:26-27 is an amazing statement of the Holy Spirit’s love for us. Go to the Bible for this scripture and take comfort in it.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, hundreds of miracles are recorded in the New Testament. We forget that there are hundreds of thousands of miracles performed every year today because of prayers and intervention by the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers.
The enemy's greatest weapon is to deny us access to the truth of the Holy Spirit. He does this by leading us to believe the Hold Spirit has little power or is nonexistent.
I am not a seminarian, (which, with no offense, needs new marketing as an education category), so I am probably going to get this wrong in the eyes of the trained. That disclaimer said, I think of it like this-
• God created all there is and ever was. Since the separation of man from Him because of sin, He has given us the opportunity to reunite with Him through choice.
• Christ taught man, demonstrated what God's love looks like as well as man's love for each other should look like and ultimately was sacrificed to create a path back to God, even though we are imperfect and undeserving.
• The Holy Spirit is with us on earth as Christ and God's daily counselor to each of us for each of us to call upon to guide us as we fight off the enemy and seek guidance as we follow a path closer to God.
There are libraries on each of these topics. I would encourage you to read every one of the books in every one of the libraries that get you to a closer understanding. I am just operating on a daily basis with an understanding that I am dealing with the supernatural and I will not get it all right. Christ painted a clear enough path that I am going to follow it, pray to God every day, and ask the Holy Spirit for guidance.