INTIMACY- THE DOUBT DISPELLER
“I’ll believe in God when He proves to me that He exists.” That is a statement that I have heard many times when interacting with unbelievers. Their thinking is, “If God is able to do anything, He can do something to prove His existence if He wants me to believe in Him.”
There are many ways to respond to this. One is to reveal that the Lord has already proven His existence to us by designing an amazing universe that displays His glory (Romans 1:20). He also revealed His Word to us through the Bible and sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins. But even with all of this evidence, many are still looking for a sign. And I have been challenged with this question before, “How can you know for sure? How can you know that Jesus was real and that you are saved?”
I recently had the opportunity to take a self-proclaimed atheist out for coffee. He had a lot of questions, and I opened up the conversation this way: “I will do my best to provide as many answers as I can, but at the end of the day, I’m going to tell you that I know God is real because I know Him personally and He lives inside of me. And that will probably not be a sufficient answer for you, but it’s the best evidence I have to offer.” Of course, we had a discussion about theology and I explained the plan of salvation. But the best answer that I could give was, “I know because I know.”
When I talk about this knowing, that I am not referring to head-knowledge. I am not saying I know about the Lord. I am talking about heart-knowledge. I am speaking about the intimacy of the relationship that I enjoy with Him. That answer might sound foolish or frustratingly confusing to an unbeliever. But to those of us who are children of God, that intimacy can act as an amazing dispeller of doubt.
We all have doubts at times.
Even John the Baptist, after declaring Jesus to be the Messiah, doubted Jesus while he was in prison. He sent some of his disciples to question Jesus about His identity, just in case he had missed it. (Matthew 11:2-6) Abraham doubted God enough to take matters in his own hands and have a baby with his maidservant. (Genesis 16) Certainly, many of the disciples—if not all—doubted that Jesus was who He said He was after His crucifixion and before His resurrection. Doubting is just par for the course for humanity. We are wired to doubt anything that we cannot see with our eyes, touch with our hands and experience in the physical realm.
I remember times in my walk with Christ—especially early on—when I really struggled to believe. I looked back at how I used to view Christians before I was saved. I thought Christianity is just a crutch for weak people who needed to believe there is more than this life. And I would start thinking, “Have I gone crazy? Have I staked everything in my life over a fairy tale?” Those thoughts really plagued me.The single most powerful thing that has enabled me to establish a real confidence in God is intimacy with Him. Click To Tweet
For me, those doubts are few and far between now, at least as it pertains to the existence of God and His plan of salvation. No one will ever convince me that Jesus is not the way to God and that He has not changed my life. And it is not just because I have studied the Bible the last seventeen years and bought into some kind of religious system. It is not just that I believe the Gospel is the most logical explanation for our existence and purpose. The single most powerful thing that has enabled me to establish a real confidence in God is intimacy with Him. And that is something that no one can take away.
Intimacy insulates our hearts from doubt.
There is a direct correlation between the amount of doubt I experience and the closeness of my relationship with the Lord. During seasons that I am really seeking Him through His Word and prayer, fasting and worship, I simply am not as susceptible to doubting. The times I experience doubt the most are those times when I have become distracted in my pursuit of the Lord.
The way that the Lord designed salvation clearly displays His desire to be close to His people. This was something the Apostle Paul loved to write about. Here are a couple of references:
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
Ephesians 1:14 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
In these passages, Paul explains that the Holy Spirit was given to us as a guarantee that the Lord has accepted us as His children. I cannot think of a more intimate way that the Lord could reveal Himself to us than to come and take up residence within us! Christianity is not an outward religion made up of religious observances, but a relationship with God so deep that we walk every day in communion with His Holy Spirit.I cannot think of a more intimate way that the Lord could reveal Himself to us than to come and take up residence within us! Click To Tweet
This is the ultimate dispeller of doubt. Whenever I have those moments of second-guessing my faith, He reminds me of His indwelling Spirit and the intimacy I enjoy with Him. Paul says it this way in Romans 8:16-17:
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
The Holy Spirit will give witness to our Spirit of His existence, presence and acceptance of us as children of God. So, when someone asks me how I know that God is real, I can say with all confidence, “I know because I know because I know.”
Struggling with doubt about your relationship with God? Contact us and we would be happy to connect with you and encourage you on your faith journey.
DUSTIN RENZ is the President of Make Way Ministries, a non-profit organization that exists to see the world changed one Christian at a time. He has a passion to see the Body of Christ find rich intimacy in their relationship with Jesus and step out in faith to share the Gospel with the world around them. He is the author of Pile of Masks: Exposing Christian Hypocrisy and Something Better. He resides in Dayton, Ohio with his wife and three daughters.