I woke up this morning thinking about the struggle of faith.
There is a struggle between the flesh and the spirit, between truth and lies, between darkness and light.
As Christians we are told of this struggle, warned that it will be and advised to prepare for it. If we fight the good fight we are not wrestling against men, we are in fact wrestling for men.
In the book of Acts Paul is continually reasoning with those he would reach with the Gospel of Christ. Both history and experience tell us that no one was ever argued in to the Kingdom yet we also know that we must be prepared to speak to men about the Lord Jesus Christ.
So here is a paradox – we must listen to be heard.
This is common knowledge but is is not without risk. Listening to the “opposing views of responsible spokesmen” means exposing yourself. When we listen we may hear.
Sometimes this is a good thing because from the struggle we learn the difference between the conventions of men and the commands of God. Sometimes this is a good thing because we learn to listen for and wait on the Lord, leaning not on our own understanding. Sometimes this is a good thing because it breaks our hearts and our pride, reminding us that we are not His by clever words.
Ultimately we must do exactly what we ask of those we reason with – trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
I think this is part of being prepared, training for the contest, reasoning with ourselves about the things of God with honest hearts. When we do we can be confounded, after all these things were hidden “from the wise and learned” for a purpose. When that happens to me I end up coming back to Peter’s response to the Lord after many of the disciples left Him over His hard sayings. The Lord asked if the twelve also wanted to leave, but Peter answered, “where would we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
So there is the nub of it. Eternal life starts with our trust in Him. Once we have tasted the words of eternal life, where else can we go to get it and how can we live without it?
Footnote: I was reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins and in the first chapter he recounts a letter written to Einstein from a believer who confessed to having doubts. Dawkins accuses the man of “intellectual and moral cowardice”(pg 38). This is absurd (given the context of the “confession”) and demonstrates an appalling lack of understanding (at the conceptual level) from an apparent (self styled?) expert on faith in God (assuming he wrote the book with some authority). It did cause me to think about my own intellectual machinations, the result was my morning reverie.