Tag Archives: Gravity

How do I know that I REALLY believe?

11 Jan

“Assurance of my position IN the family of God or OUT of the family sometimes FEELS tenuous.   What if I’m deceiving myself?  What if I THINK I believe what Jesus taught, what the Bible says? But what if I don’t really believe but I THINK I do?  How do I know if I’m sincere?”

Do you know someone who shares those kinds of thoughts?  Do you sometimes go around and around yourself, wondering if you really are saved?

Yesterday for ‘some’ reason that discouraging scenario popped into my mind while driving home.  I turned off what I was listening to and set my mind to figuring out how I would respond to an imaginary friend. Here’s the conversation I had in my head:

Me: You’re not sure if you REALLY believe you are saved, is that it?

Friend: Yes.

Me:  And you would like some assurance so you can put this issue to rest, once and for all?

Friend: PLEASE!

Me: Okay, let’s imagine that you came to me and shared that you were uncertain if you REALLY believed in gravity.  Do you know what I would have you do?

Friend: (a bit puzzled) Ah, no….what?

Me:  I’d say:  Test it out!  Let’s get some evidence for the reality of gravity.  Here, get up on this chair and step out into the air, off the chair and see what happens.

(Friend follows my instructions and lands on his/her feet)

Me:  You now have evidence that gravity is REAL.  Do you believe it is real?

Friend:  Of course!

Me:  Are you sure? Why do you now think that your belief is sincere?

Friend:  Because I have evidence that gravity is real.

Me:  Exactly! So let’s apply the same principle to belief IN God, that is, faith in Jesus’ work done in his life and on the cross, which is SAVING faith.  What evidence do you think would prove that you have been born from above, that you belong to the family of God?

Friend:  Hmmm, maybe if I prayed and received answers to prayer?  Maybe a miracle?

Me:  Possibly, but you might just rationalize them to be a coincidence.

Me:  Here is what I find to be irrefutable evidence:  the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

Me: Before I became a ‘new creation in Christ’ I had NO experience of this kind of conviction or heart remorse and prompting.  I might have felt GUILT or SHAME at being CALLED OUT for doing something wrong, but never did I feel GRIEF at hurting a person.

Friend: I know what you mean!  A couple of months ago, I said something offhand, unnecessary, AND self-aggrandizing to a colleague at school. As soon as I was in the car driving home, ‘it’ hit me:  my judgmental tone, facial expression, and remark.  With genuine remorse, I immediately confessed to the Father.  And I could hardly wait for the next day to seek out my co-worker and ask forgiveness for my unkind, unfair and self-righteous comment.  Although not a believer, she graciously received my apology.  I was both relieved and grateful.

Me:  Right!  and before, when you KNOW for sure that you were NOT a believer, did you experience that kind of prompting by the Holy Spirit?

Friend: No!

Me:  There you have it! I think Holy Spirit conviction IS evidence of His permanent presence in your heart.  You cannot deceive yourself about that.  Besides……do you think Satan planted that thought in your head to confess?  or has it always been part of your nature to feel bad about every self-righteous comment you’ve made?

Friend: Fat chance that Satan wants me to humble myself and seek reconciliation.  And I never used to pay attention to my comments to others, the way I do now.

Me:  Okay, then. That settles it.  If you start to doubt again whether you truly are saved, just remember the evidence of God’s Spirit IN you!  His convicting work is called sanctification!

 

 

Logical Gal and another helpful distinction in terms

4 Apr

Real faith is not the stuff dreams are made of; rather it is tough, practical and altogether realistic. Faith sees the invisible but it does not see the nonexistent.  A.W. Tozer

Faith - word

This distinction grabbed me.  I’ve read/heard some snarky debaters mock Christians by likening believing in a transcendent supernatural God with subscribing to something silly as the ‘flying spaghetti monster’.  Even Samuel Clemens quipped,“Faith is believing something you know ain’t true.

Samuel Clemens

So often when I am trying to grasp the concept of something that is new to me, I seek to do two things:

  • set this ‘thing’ in a larger context or category.
  • find out what it is opposed to, that is, to what it is NOT. The contrast helps set some boundaries that make it easier for me to  see more clearly what this ‘thing’ is.

Back to ‘faith’.  A synonym that adds more meaning is the verb ‘to trust’.  If you say, “I have faith in airplanes”,  you mean probably that you trust your safety to the engineers who built the aircraft, the mechanics who keep it running and the pilots who transport you safely to your destination.  And you demonstrate your trust or faith by actually boarding a plane and traveling with it.

Christian faith is similar.  It is trust in the truthful reality of the unseen God who has given lots of evidence for His existence. In a much smaller way I trust the force of gravity.  I can’t SEE this pressure, but gravity certainly keeps my feet on the ground, so I don’t float away as if weight-less.   Knowing that gravity exists limits my choices.  If it’s me or gravity, gravity is going to win out!

Gravity

 

So the next time someone tries to mock one of your unseen beliefs that is true, you can remember to quip back this distinction between the invisible and the non-existent.

 

Question: What other distinction has recently helped you?

 

 

 

 

Logical gal takes on claim: “Truth is relative”

1 Nov

I teach a few precocious 8th graders who take pleasure in striking the contrary pose.  The other day a lively discussion erupted at the end of the period. What got us started was the conclusion in a simple French reader, “Il n’y a pas de familles parfaites”  – there are no perfect families.  One boy disagreed saying, ‘En fait’  /actually that there ARE perfect families!  I responded with incredulity, “Really?  for how long?”   He backed down and said that his family could be perfect for ……. half a day.  But when pressed to admit the enormity of 7 family members actually ‘being perfect’ with one another for that many hours, we slipped OVER into the bunny trail of TRUTH.

Since there were only 2-3 minutes left in class, I allowed us to converse en anglais in this French 1 class.

So, what was the connection between the concept of perfect and the concept of truth?  It all started when I asked the students how they defined ‘perfect’.  I think someone piped up about perfection being relative, like truth.  I then humorously asked, “So the Law of Gravity is relative?”

Class ended as the boys were affirming that “All truth is relative”.  Had we been able to pursue this chain of thinking, I would have led them to define truth.  Defining one’s terms is always the hinge on which statements or propositions rest.

As Bill Clinton might have expressed and Pilate thought, “It all depends on what truth means!

So if truth is defined as “that which corresponds to reality“, then relativity has NO bearing on the definition.  Truth doesn’t change according to the one who is looking at it.

For example: Terminating the life of a person or animal is the act of killing.

Whether that action is justified or not, is morally good or not is another question.  Good or bad, it is still killing due to how the term is defined.  It doesn’t matter that in some cultures people are exhorted to Love their Enemies where in other societies members are taught to Eat their Enemies.  Those are moral values which DO change according to how and in what/in whom they are grounded.

Back to truth. Truth either conforms to reality or it doesn’t.  The ‘discovered’  Law of Excluded Middle tells us as much. There is NO middle possibility.

Only pseudo-sophisticated modernists claim that Truth depends on the eye of the beholder.   And my 8th grade boys, as advanced as they are for their age, have yet to be  grounded in philosophy and critical thinking.   Nevertheless, I was encouraged to witness their grappling with important ideas.   Logical thinking can be found in all disciplines, even in French class!  It’s just part of ordinary life!