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Have you ever believed in God?











Why believe?
















Have you stopped believing?


















Have you had an alternative belief?


















Have you got a need for God now?












Are you willing to be changed?



















Will you let God help you?







Texts












Hebrews 11:16
















Psalm 78:4












Psalm 23















Romans 3:10-12


















Romans 1:28














Psalm 130:1,2














Psalm 100:5














Ephesions 2:8,9

The Way to Eternity

What Must I Know?

1. The Need

Do you believe in God? Do you know that he exists, not just in the imagination as a fairytale character, but in reality? When we speak of God we mean a supernatural being, one who transcends the natural world, and is its creator. He is good, he influences people and events, and he has ultimate authority and control. If your answer is yes, then you have taken an important step. Is this however the God of the Bible or of your own understanding, designed to answer your needs and provide for your requirements? Do please read on and discover. If you are not sure whether you believe or not, you will need to have an open mind and be prepared to consider this as a possibility. So, although doubtful, if you are willing to try, do continue. If the answer is no, but you are prepared to change, then again an open mind is essential. God cannot be proved by human argument. He reveals himself to us, as we seek him, in his own way. You have nothing to lose, so please explore further.

How does a belief in God first come to us? For some, we are told by others, such as parents and teachers, and we believe them. This is faith received at second hand and may not survive a person's need for self-determination. For some we ask our own questions, about ourselves and why we are here, about our relationships with others, about the world around us; and through faith in a transcendent God we find an explanation for all that is. For others it is a gut feeling, a kind of instinct, something that is not questioned.

There are two reasons why people want to believe in God. Firstly, for who he is and what he symbolises. God personifies all our noblest ideals and hopes. His character is one of absolute goodness, love, compassion, truth, beauty, justice, mercy and grace. Secondly, for what he can do for them. God is creator, provider and protector, and people look to him for provision, help and blessing. For many of us it is the second motive that predominates. We want God to be there to help us, and make us successful in all the things we desire. We may not receive what we ask for, so we may begin to doubt. We may decide that if we want something, we will have to get it for ourselves.

For some of us, people or events encourage us to believe in God. This is not so for everyone. Some will not have heard of his existence, and others will deny it. Indeed our instinct for survival leads us to stand up for our own selfish interests against the world. We strive to be in control, to be, do and have what we want. We become self-centred and without regard for the interests of others. Because of our selfish nature, our actions cause others to be deprived and suffer. Causing pain and distress is wrong and is called sin. Conversely, the sin, that is the greed of other people means that we can be the losers and are made to suffer. Sin produces suffering, and they go hand in hand.

The promotion of self-interest, and how this is manifested in greed for possessions, and lust for power and pleasure, means that God, whether we have knowledge of him or not, becomes or remains remote. Some who still feel the need for supernatural support find this in a variety of ways such as spirit guidance, idols, nature gods, fortune telling and other forms of the occult. There is a turning away from God, and he becomes irrelevant. Ask yourself if any of the above has been part of your experience.

However, just as we can turn away from God, it is still possible to turn back to him. What are the circumstances that may want us to find or return to God? The need may be prompted when our life becomes too stormy and too difficult to handle. Life has its times of hardship and danger, and we can be overwhelmed by our circumstances. When we are at the end of our own resources, and with no one else to turn to, God is the only answer. The need may be prompted by disillusionment with life in general and the feeling that there must be something better. The need may be prompted by the question, "Is there an existence after death?" We may have an overwhelming feeling of guilt for something we have done. It may be prompted by a recognition of our sinfulness, and of God's coming judgement which condemns the wicked to eternal separation from himself in what we call hell. It may be an awareness of other people whom we sense have something we lack, or by a return of the gut feeling we had before our selfish instincts took control. It may even be the result of a visionary experience. Our situations are all different, and God reaches out to each of us in an appropriate way. Perhaps you can relate in your life to something of the above, or you may experience something in the future. Whatever the incentive, we need to respond to God, and no longer let our pride tell us that we can manage on our own. God who is good and loving wants to restore a relationship with us.

Another change of attitude is necessary. We said that there were two reasons for people wanting to believe in God, and it is the first reason that we must return to. We must want God for who he is, that is for his nature and character. God is perfect in goodness. He is absolutely pure and wholesome. He is righteous in all his ways and in all his actions. He is the source of love, truth and beauty. Our desire for God should be because we desire his goodness, and to have a close relationship with him. We want our lives to have purpose and direction, to be a walk with God, and so receive and reveal his goodness. Even now it is still possible to go wrong. We have to come to God in his way not ours. We may think that to come back to God we have to put ourselves right, and make ourselves acceptable by a life of rigorous self-discipline, ritual observances and good works. This is a serious mistake.

What we need to understand is that God wants us back so much that he is willing to forgive us and do the cleansing process for us. Initially we can call out to God just as we are, in all our guilt and need. It is true that before we can stand in the presence of God we have to be made right. However that righteousness springs not from ourselves but from God, and is a free gift made available to us. How does the cleansing process take place, and if we cannot do it ourselves what is required so that God's process can happen?