I have a new friend. We share a lot of similar interests and life experiences, but our beliefs about God are substantially different. We’ve had great conversations (and civil conversations – it’s possible!) about why each of us adheres to our respective beliefs. In the end we agree to disagree. Then we start talking about road trips and California and our favorite food groups, among many other things.
These conversations have made me realize that I have a very simple approach to what I believe. Not simple as in naive, but simple as in direct. Perhaps this is because I’ve never been one for theological debates or complex exegesis. I think it’s important to have a well-rounded perspective on what you believe and why and what other people believe and why. It was interesting to learn in-depth information about the Bible and also about world religions from classes I took in college. But I’ve never felt compelled to compose definitive answers to the questions of Christianity for my own benefit.
Most would call this ignorant. Some may call it irresponsible. Others might see it as downright dumb. I can understand each sentiment. But for me, I think of it more in these terms:
When I want to watch TV I turn the TV on and select a channel. When I want a piece of toast I put a piece of bread in the toaster and push the toaster down. When I want to microwave oatmeal I combine the oats and the water and put it in the microwave for 4 minutes.
The result of each action? I watch TV. I make toast. I cook oatmeal.
I don’t have to know how each appliance works to achieve the desired result. All I know is that when I press the Power button, the TV turns on, the bread toasts, the oatmeal cooks.
I think I put less emphasis on scientifically dissecting why I believe what I believe because I view faith in the same way.
When I want an answer to a question in my life I pray about it. When I want to offer hope to a person in need I tell them about the hope I have in Christ. When I want to know that I have eternal security I remember that it is by grace that I’ve been saved through faith, by confessing with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believing in my heart that God raised him from the dead.
I don’t have to know how prayers are answered, how hope is transferred, how salvation works to achieve the desired result. All I know is that when I pray, God answers. When I place my trust in Him, I have hope. When I made a commitment to give my life to the Lord, I was given eternal security.
I realize that it’s not at all the same thing. Describing the functionality of a toaster is far and away less complicated than describing the functionality of faith. And just as there are people who can explain the anatomy of an appliance, there are people who can explain the anatomy of faith.
But I’m content to believe what I believe because I experience the evidence in my daily life. I know that when I press Power, the TV will turn on. I know that when I go to the Lord, He is there.
It may be too basic for some. For me, it’s plenty.
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, certain of what we do not see.”