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I can't stop thinking about Christianity and God and I do want to believe it is true. However I have put up a barrier and won't let myself believe. How can I get past this? How can I know there is a God?
Thank you for your question. I am glad that you are so seriously considering the claims of Christianity, and it is great to have an opportunity to help you on your journey towards God. I must say that it will be difficult to answer your question specifically, not knowing what kind of a barrier you think you have put up, but I hope that what I have to say will still be of help to you.
Firstly, let me address the end your enquiry - ‘how can I know there is a God?’ I wonder what it is that you are looking for when you ask that question? What is the proof that you are after that God is real? When faced with the question of God’s existence, I’ve heard many people say something like this: ‘well if God came down and stood in front of me, then I’d believe in Him’. Actually, the honest truth is that they probably wouldn’t - they’d make up some excuse to justify why it wasn’t God who came down to them - but what they say they’re looking for is a 100% guaranteed, 100% scientific, concrete proof of God’s existence right there in front of their eyes. Let me tell you, if that’s anything like what you’re looking for, then you’re looking for the wrong thing. You see, the Bible says that we are saved (become a Christian) ‘by faith’ (Ephesians 2:8-9), and then this verse in Hebrews tell us what faith is:
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
To have faith in something means that you are convinced it is true, despite the fact you have not seen it for yourself. To have faith in something like this means that you trust the person who is telling you it - we have natural faith all the time by trusting the things our friends and family say when we’ve not seen the evidence for ourselves. So what it means to be a Christian is not necessarily to have seen miracles and signs to confirm that God is real (though God could do these things to help you along the way if He wanted to), but it simply means to take God at His Word as we read it in the Bible. God has told us the way of salvation, He’s told us to trust in His Son Jesus Christ, and our job is simply to believe Him, and re-orientate our lives around what God says is true, no matter what we might see around us and what kind of feelings are going on inside.
Therefore, in the light of this my first encouragement to you is this - cry out to God to give you the faith you need to believe in Him. The verses above from Ephesians tell us that faith is a gift from God, and so if you want to believe but are struggling to, I urge you to take that problem to God Himself. He is more than able to convince you that He is real however He wants to, and I can guarantee you that if you come to Him humbly, then He will not turn you away but will bring you to that place of trusting Him completely.
Now, moving on, let me try to stir your faith, by giving you just a few reasons why you are able to take God at His Word, and trust Him completely.
- Reason 1: His Word matches up with history.
Maybe you’ve heard it said that the Bible is a completely unreliable book - just a bunch of fairy stories, that, even if they were true, has been changed down through the years. Let me tell you that this is all complete nonsense. Don’t get the idea from what I’ve said above that to become a Christian is just to leap into a huge black hole of unknowns where there is no evidence for what we believe at all. Far from it - in fact, all the evidence points towards the fact that what we hold in our hands is exactly what God intended us to have. Is there absolute proof that the Bible is authentic? As with any history, there isn’t absolute proof, but there is more than enough evidence to be going along with.
The Bible is a miraculous book - it’s actually not just one book, but 66 different books, written by over 40 people, over about 1500 years. You would expect a book like this to be full of contradictions, errors, and differences, but that’s not the case - the message of the Bible is completely unified despite a large proportion of the authors living in different time periods, let alone actually meeting each other.
There is also ample evidence that the Bible hasn’t been changed over the years - the New Testament was copied and translated so widely when it was first written that we can be extremely confident that what we hold in our hands is what the original authors actually wrote. There are many books out there that deal with this issue of the reliability of the Bible, and I’d urge you to study this more if it’s something you struggle with - we can be amazingly confident that the book we are able to read today really is the Word of God Himself.
- Reason 2: Taking God at His word is better than anything else.
When you talk to people a lot who are asking questions about religion in general, and about Christianity in particular, you find out something interesting from their responses.
The honest truth is, though people may hide behind it, they don’t often genuinely disbelieve Christianity because they doubt the historical evidence, but rather because they just don’t want to. You could make a case for the fact that actually everyone who rejects the God of the Bible is like that, because the Bible tells us that the problem we have as humans is not primarily a problem in our minds, it’s a problem in our hearts. We just don’t want a God in our lives who can tell us what to do, we want to do things our own way, and to build our own lives. We want to cling on to the behaviours and habits that we know God would want us to leave behind, and so, however we justify it, we turn our backs on God convincing ourselves that He probably isn’t even real. The lie we’ve believed and cling on to is that we can make a life for ourselves much better than the life God could give us.
Let’s just stop and think about that for a second - what kind of God would call us away from the great life that we can have by ourselves, and bring us into one where we have to leave all the good stuff behind, and live a dull, lifeless, even painful existence. That kind of God wouldn’t be a good God, He would be a horrible God, a tyrant even - and that’s exactly the idea of God that many people have in their minds.
However, the Bible paints a very different picture of God. James tells us that God is the giver of ‘every good and perfect gift’ (James 1:17), and the Psalms tell us that ‘the Lord is good, for His steadfast love endures for ever’ (Psalm 136:1). Romans 8:28 tells us that even in the hard times in our lives, God is still working for the good of those who love Him.
The reality is, God isn’t a hard task-master who just wants us to be miserable, and He isn’t a tyrant who just loves to punish us when we do wrong. Yes, God is holy, just and will punish our sin, and He is deserving of our reverence and honour, but He is still a good God who loves to give good things to those who trust Him.
Even in this life God gives us good things to enjoy, though He also promises hard times to test us, train us and purify us, but it is in the world to come where God’s goodness will be seen in its fullness. The Bible tells us that one day God will wipe away every tear from every eye, and there will be no more pain, sin and death. Those who have trusted God in this life will live forever enjoying His goodness and grace - isn’t that something worth looking forward to.
So, I encourage you to search your heart - is there a self-centredness in your heart that is stopping you believe God, and enjoy all of His goodness? You need to turn from it today, and turn to Jesus Christ who is the only one who can save you from your sin. To reject God is to doubt His goodness, and is in itself sinful, but God has done everything necessary to deal with your sin.
2000 years ago Jesus died a sinner's death on a Roman cross though He was innocent of any crime or sin, and He did so because He loves you. As Jesus died there, He was accepting the blame and taking the punishment for your sin and for my sin. He bore your death in your place, so that if you turn to Him today, trusting in His death and resurrection, you may receive the gifts of forgiveness and new life. Don’t be bought off by anything that the world can offer you - it may be good for a time, but it just doesn’t compare to what God is willing to give you in His Son Jesus.
- Reason 3: Because it works.
Why do I say this? I say it because I can testify that when I was 20 years old I personally took a step of faith in crying out to God to save me from my sin - and it worked. Looking back years later I can see that God has been faithful to every single promise that He’s made in the Bible. He’s provided for me, strengthened me, encouraged me and changed me. He’s never let me down, and because of that I urge you to do just what I did - take a step of faith, turn away from your sin and unbelief, and come to Jesus.
Could you write off my experiences as just coincidences, or as just being in my mind? Yes, you could probably find a way, but then let me add to my experience, the experiences of literally millions of people across the world who have also trusted God, and found Him completely faithful. Then add to that millions more people down through the centuries - we can read about a handful of them in books, though most we’ll never know anything about, but who would also testify to you right now if they could, of the faithfulness of the God in whom they put their trust.
Your decision is this - are we a bunch of deluded crazy people in believing that God is real to us, or are we rather a compelling testimony to the reality of the God of the Bible, and to the reality that Jesus can still change lives today? The choice is yours, and neither me nor anyone else can decide that for you, but I urge you today to put your trust entirely on the only Risen Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Would you like to put your trust in Jesus? If you would like more information, you can view the video on the main part of our site: www.lookingforGod.com
In closing, I want to encourage you to get more involved with your local church. It would be good to speak to a Christian leader or another trusted church individual regarding your question. I know they would be delighted to further answer you as well as offer prayer and support as you continue your spiritual journey:
Please use our Interactive Answer Matrix and feel free to ask another question. Our helpful staff are praying for you and waiting to try and answer to you from the Bible, and will be delighted to tell you more about Jesus Christ the Lord, the Saviour of the world.
Here are some more Bible Verses for your further consideration:
- John 20:24-29
- Hebrews 11:1-12:3
- Ephesians 2:1-10
*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
*If anything in this answers affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at http://www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline
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