The Path of Discipleship – Knowing Christ

According to rules of physics, there are two different forces at play when you are moving an object.  One is referred to as static friction and the other is referred to as kinetic friction.  Static friction is the amount of resistance between two objects (say a bookcase and the floor) when the objects are not moving.  Kinetic friction is the resistance between two objects once they are moving.  Generally speaking, static friction is greater than kinetic friction. What does this mean? You know this concept intuitively.  Let’s say you are trying to slide a bookcase across the floor.  It takes more strength to get the bookcase moving than it does to keep it moving.

It seems that the same concept may apply in spiritual things.  There is a natural resistance to belief, to faith, because of our sin nature.  “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”  This inability to believe must be overcome and it would seem that it takes more “energy” or “power” to start believing than it does to continue believing.

This is the desired result in the first stage of spiritual growth, to overcome the static friction of unbelief and embrace the truth of the good news that is found in Jesus Christ.  How does one go about shedding doubt and grasping faith? The Bible is our guidebook to faith and to truth, so let’s see what it has to tell us.

First, as we noted above, there is a resistance within ourselves to belief.  We do not see, we even refuse to see, spiritual things. We need God’s help to believe.  So, you could be like the man who came to Jesus looking for his child to be healed and cried out, “help my unbelief.”  How many stories have I heard of people in dire straits, calling out to God, “if you are there, show yourself to me.”  You may not fully believe in God, but call out to him asking him to reveal himself to you. If he is there, which he is, then he will answer you.

Second, the Bible tells us that “faith comes through hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Faith is a response to truth and the truth is found in Jesus Christ.  He himself said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”  If you have not yet developed faith, then put yourself in a place to hear the words of Christ.  This happens in churches through sermons.  This happens by opening up the Bible and reading the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), where you can encounter the words of Jesus most directly.

Third, you may have some legitimate questions that you want answered before you believe.  You may want to know how it could be that the world is so evil if there is a good God in charge. You may want to know if it is really true that Jesus rose from the dead.  These and other questions can be quite legitimate.  You should seek answers to these questions from people who do believe, from church leaders or by reading the Bible, just don’t let getting a perfect answer in the way of believing, faith is faith and it does require a leap sometimes.

What are some indications that you are moving along this path to “Know Christ”?

  1. If you are reading this and giving any of the advice above serious consideration, you have already taken the first step.
  2. You are asking and seeking genuine answers to your spiritual questions. The Bible says that “those who seek will find.”
  3. You find yourself sensing God’s presence in your life. Maybe there is a developing desire to pray and communicate with God.  You may feel conviction about things you have or are doing wrong.  The Bible says that one of the jobs of the Holy Spirit (who is God) is to “convict the world of sin.”  Conviction is evidence that God is with you.
  4. While Christians are not perfect, you may find a desire to be with the loving community of Christians because the Bible says we “bring the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.”
  5. Finally, you are ready to follow the instructions of the Bible in coming to faith, namely “repent and be baptized.” This is what the Bible instructs for those who are ready to express their faith to God.  First, coming to faith in God is to repent, that means to turn away from the wrong things you have done and your disbelief in God and begin to do what is right.  Second, as a public expression of your faith in Christ, be baptized.

How can Glory Chapel help you along this path to “Know Christ”?

  1. We hope that you will find our church services as a place where you hear the words of Christ and have the opportunity to interact with Christians, to learn about your growing faith.
  2. When you are ready to be baptized, come speak the elders. About twice per year, we offer an opportunity for you to be baptized, this involves a brief class beforehand where you will learn more about the meaning and purpose of baptism.

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