Do you remember the moment when you accepted Christ into your heart?
Think back with me to where it all began: Were you saved in a stadium bathed in lights? Or did it occur in the quiet of your own bedroom?
Or maybe you were just born into all of this, and you took these eternal things into your hands as a matter of fact. Perhaps, you’ve never really had a burning bush encounter, but you grew to know about God book by book and verse by verse. Do any of these statements relate to you?
As we go deeper together into these questions, I want you to know there is nothing in my heart that wants condemnation or shame to come from this article. God help us all to know You more authentically. I have just one last question for you, before we jump into the thick of it: What is your faith built on — an emotional experience or evidence?
Is your faith only based on an emotional experience?
I’m referring here to “initial conversion experiences”, or instances when someone believes he’s encountered God for the first time.
We cannot live on a good experience alone. Our first encounter with God must followed up with a new life that is lived riveted to His Word. If your faith is built on a singular emotional experience, on a feeling or a fleeting emotion — it is not likely faith that will last. Could one memory sustain anybody for the rest of his life?
“Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4)
Besides, there is a temptation to believe we can “recreate” the presence of the Holy Spirit. We may not be consciously doing it, but it truly can be tempting to believe you can invite the presence of God with elements of service apart from sincere devotion. Smoke machines, programmed lights, a certain chord progression on the synthesiser — these are not inherently bad things.
A person may first find God through an emotion or a certain kind of “feeling”, but it’s not enough for anyone to only “know” God through these fleeting things. The truth is I’d be willing to wager there is more to the Most High God than a certain chord or sentiment.
Now if you accepted Christ over goosebumps or tears — that is still a wonderful thing. Don’t let my words change that for you. But I hope we all see that our first moment of salvation must signal the start of our devotion to Him for the rest of our lives.
Life cannot look the same when we learn about His character and know the things on His heart as told to us from Scripture.
Or is it based on evidence?
A faith based on evidence — a life lived from knowing the Truth — is stronger than one built on emotion. Emotions shift like sands in the wind, and memories have a way of fading and even twisting — but Scripture never passes away or changes.
““Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24)
If we live on every word that comes from God’s mouth, and apply them in our lives — we are living on a firm foundation. And certainly, knowing why we believe what we believe is something all believers must strive to (1 Peter 3:15).
God’s Word is all-sufficient, containing all we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). The only thing I’d dare say about that, is that knowing about God is not the same as knowing God. If we think Bible knowledge alone can save us, we are puffed up.
Instead, we must always begin with humility. We need to acknowledge we don’t know it all, can never know it all — and we certainly don’t know it all about God. We must acknowledge our need for the Holy Spirit to help us encounter the reality of God — whether we are standing in a sold-out stadium or studying the Bible in the reading room.
Don’t build your life on nice emotions and good feels. That’s relying on a spider’s web, and it is certain to twist and fail you in times of sickness and poverty. If you lean wholly on the Solid Rock, you will never be shaken (Matthew 7:24-27). You will build things together with a Creator God that will have eternal worth.
What kind of faith do you have, and what kind would you want? You get just one lifetime to make your decision.