Those of us who know Christ will have seasons of life where we feel like we are on a spiritual mountain top, and others where we will feel stuck in the valley. These experiences are to be expected and happened to people in the Bible as well. Each season presents an opportunity for growth – for us to dive deeper. God always wants us to draw closer to His heart. This can obviously be difficult, especially when we are in the valley.
The purpose for this blog is to encourage those in Christ to not be afraid to put in the work to dive deeper in to who God is, through the valleys and mountain tops. If you’re reading this and you don’t know Christ, message me. Let’s start a conversation!
I gave my life to Christ at a young age and grew up in some great churches. I’ve had what I would call a pretty simple faith, usually not gravitating towards difficult, uncomfortable topics. I’ve often just simply believed God’s Word and haven’t had much doubt or struggle in my faith. Over the past year or so though, my thoughts have often shifted more towards a wrestling and a struggle – a need to press in more and dive deeper.
Various theological topics and tough Scriptures have hit my mind, and it’s as if God is saying to me, “If you really know and believe in me, why? Own your faith and take it to another level. Wrestle with me and your faith. Don’t just believe because that’s what you do. Believe because you REALLY believe.”
In these moments of struggle, wrestling and growth, I’ve had three choices:
Choice #1: Ignore these tough questions and topics, hoping they eventually disappear…
Let’s be honest.. This option isn’t very realistic. Yes, we do need to compartmentalize certain thoughts, being able to tell them to WAIT until we have more mental and emotional energy, but eventually, they will probably come back.
I love what the Apologist Ravi Zacharias often said for the purpose of his ministry RZIM: “Helping the thinker believe. Helping the believer think.” We can’t ignore the tough things forever. When a tough question about God comes to me, I TRY to immediately pray or even journal it down. And then at some point I go back to it and ask God to help me through it. Our minds are meant to be stretched and developed in the right direction. They have the ability to grow, grow and keep growing!
Choice #2: Turn to fear, allowing my mind to run down a dark path where the enemy begins to discourage me with lies…
I’m an over-thinker! If I’m not careful, I’ll spend hours thinking about something until I’ve ended up in a very dark place. Something that was never meant to be dark will end up being dark because I’ve allowed the combination of my over-thinking and the devil to manipulate me. The enemy knows our weaknesses, and although he cannot ultimately win, he can influence. He can whisper lies in our ears that we should live in disbelief or even abandon the faith. In those moments, we have to remind ourselves of what we know to be true, even beyond our feelings. The Holy Spirit helps us distinguish the truth from the lies and empowers us to take our thoughts captive (Check out 2 Corinthians 10:5).
Choice #3: Use this as an opportunity to grow, so that I can be a stronger Christian and more effectively minister to others…
This is obviously the right choice! If I’ve truly been changed by Jesus Christ and I’m going to minister to people, I better be ready!
1 Peter 3:15 tells us to be ready to give an answer to people for why we believe in Jesus. Of course, we cannot fully know and understand EVERYTHING because we are not God, but that’s not an excuse to resist growth. We can know more than enough to give a reason for our faith and be able to effectively dialogue with others. If I always ignore tough questions or passages of Scripture, I’m not really allowing the Holy Spirit to break through and take me to new levels with Him.
Many of us have echoed the words of Scripture where the man says to Jesus, “I believe, help my unbelief!” This has been my prayer. I want sanctification to have it’s way in my life, but this requires HARD work. Sanctification means to simply grow and mature, becoming more like Christ. Here are just a few Scriptures that speak about the importance of sanctification in our lives:
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Do not quench the Spirit. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
–1 Thessalonians 5:19, 23-24
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
To wrap this up, my question would be: What about you? How do you dive deeper?
Christian, what do you do when your mind is faced with difficult questions and topics. There are countless opportunities right now to defend the faith and speak light into the darkness and bring life into death. We live in a fallen, broken world that is in need of redemption, which will one day happen when Jesus comes back. But until then, there is much work to be done for the sake of Christ. His Word speaks into our brokenness and gives us a guide to life. Let’s not pull back when we are struggling, scared and tired. Let’s press in, and dive deeper into the heart of God and His Word. Wrestling with God is a good thing, when we are determined to know Him more. Maybe you need to pray when tough things hit you, and re-visit it later – but don’t ignore it forever! Process what your learning with your church and community as well. It’s in these tough moments that He makes us more like Him and prepares us for great things!