Questions and problems I have been struggling with for years....
I have certain spiritual problems which have been ruining my christian life for years and there is no hope in sight. I have listened to probably thousands of sermons and teachings from different christian pastor and backgrounds, unable to ever get anywhere. Other christians do not seem to have these problems, they seem to be more confident and also less doubtful of themselves. I will just state them here in a short manner. Maybe somebody here has an answer. I have been trying to find answers ever since.
1) How do you determine biblical truth? Do you ever come to a point where you can really say that you are absolutely confident that you truly understand what the bible says regarding important topics such as:
God's will to heal
Works vs. grace
Speaking in tongues being biblical or not
I am simply unable to decide what is right. Some christians say this and others say that.
Only recently I heard a sermon from a jewish christian who said something which would never even have come to my mind. He said when Jesus exhaled on the disciples after the resurrection they did not get the Holy Spirit in a sense of the Holy Spirit living in them but they only got an Old Testament kind of anointing which enabled them to understand Jesus' teachings.
I cannot say if this is right, but I would never even have come to this conclusion.
I am no scholar! How shall I, even if I think the bible says A, ever be sure that I am not missing something and that the bible actually says B?
How shall I ever trust that I understand the bible?
This brings me to my next huge problem:
2) If I cannot be sure that I really understand the bible correctly then how in the world shall I pray with faith knowing that God will answer me? What if I think the bible promises something like tongues and pray for it and expect it but it doesn't work and then I won't even know why. Wether I did not have enough faith OR maybe because it is not even biblical!
Another really huge problem I struggle with is faith.
3) If God can only answer my prayer if I have enough faith and waver not, then how can I have confidence? If the answer depends not on God but on my ability to have faith and to not waver then it is no longer faith in God but faith in my faith!
I can't deal with this kind of pressure. When I know that I must believe and cannot "afford" being weak or being a doubt because then God won't answer me then I feel like I can forget it.
In this moment where getting a prayer answered depends on the believer himself then it doesn't help one bit if God totally wants to answer the prayer. How does this make it easier? Even if I imagine God standing there totally wanting to help me then I am still the weakest link in the chain!
What if I get a fear or a doubt and then everything is ruined? I am so weary and tired of these mental battles. The more faith is required the harder it becomes for me to have faith.
I have struggled with these problems for so long trying to find a solution or a way to deal with the pressure but to no avail. It is like a maze with no way out. For other christians these things do not seem to be a problem. They simply say "just believe" or "don't doubt". They don't even seem to think about these problems or feel any pressure. But how can you not feel pressure when everything depends on you?
Imagine you are sick and you totally need a miracle and you are already scared because of being sick and then you even know that getting healed or not depends on YOUR faith and if you become afraid or doubt that it will work then it's all over. How shall you deal with this insane pressure?
This is like shooting the last penalty in the world cup finals and everything depends on you, or like having to do a surgery on your wife or a family member. How can you not totally start to fall into pieces when you're under such a pressure? How can you stay cool and simply exercise your faith and not be afraid knowing that being afraid would keep you from receiving?
To me this seems impossible.
They all read and pray.
If we are simply silly creatures who cannot know what God's will is then the bible failed to show what God's will is for us.
For example does God want children to die young? Does God want mothers to leave their families behind?
All christians speak about a "relationship"´with God. How do you have a relationship with someone you don't see hear or feel? Then I can as well say I have a relationship with Arnold Schwarzenegger. :confused:
It appears you would like to know God's will almost like having a crystal ball to know the future. Sorry, that isn't going to happen. Not even prophets new the future clearly, they spoke about the visions they received from the Lord.
Sorry, if I was unclear, but it appears you misquoted me above, I never stated that you cannot know God's will at all, in fact, Romans 12:1-2, tells us how to test and approve what his will is. However, it requires us to live lives of sacrifice and obedience. Unfortunately, we are fallen creatures and fall short of this most times. Thus, most of the time God's will will be unclear to us.
Romans 12:1-2 (New International Version)
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
You have a relationship with God based on the promises he has made in Scripture and the revelations of his character. You invest time in that relationship by reading the bible and praying. You worship God alone and in communion with other believers. Yes, at times, you will feel God's presence, at other times, you won't. Even when you don't feel his presence, you KNOW from the Bible, that God is there and that he will meet your needs. There are numerous Bible verses relating this. I know of no such promises that Arnold has made regarding a relationship with him. Do not get caught up in your senses or feelings, get caught up in the promises of the Bible.
Ps 32:8, "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye."
Ps 50:15, "And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me."
Is 41:10, "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."
Is 41:13, "For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee."
Jer 29:13, "And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."
Jer 33:3, "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not."
Ez 34:15, "I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD."
Ez 34:16, "I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment."
Ez 34:26, "And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing."
Hos 14:4, "I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him."
JESUS SAID:Matt 6:31-33, "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
Matt 7:7-8, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."
Matt 11:28-29, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."
Matt 17:20, "... If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."
Matt 21:21-22, "... Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."
Mark 9:23, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth."
Mark 11:23-26, "...whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses."
Luke 6:38, "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."
Luke 11:9-10, "And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."
John 5:24, "He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."
John 6:37, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
John 14:12-14, "... He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it."
John 14:18, "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you."
John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
John 15:7, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."
John 16:13, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come."
John 16:15, "All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you."
John 16:23, "And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you."
Acts 1:8, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
THE BIBLE AUTHORS SAID:
(Remember, 2Tim 3:16 tells us, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.")
Ps 5:12, "For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield. "
Ps 9:9, "The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble."
Ps 22:24, "For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard."
Ps 25:8, "Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way."
Ps 27:14, "Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD."
Ps 29:11, "The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace."
Ps 34:7, "The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them."
Ps 34:9, "O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him."
Ps 34:10, "The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing."
Ps 34:17, "The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles."
Ps 34:18, "The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit."
Ps 34:19, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all."
Ps 37:4-5, "Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass."
Ps 37:39-40, "But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble. And the LORD shall help them and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him."
Ps 46:1, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
Ps 46:11, "The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah."
Ps 62:12, "Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work."
Ps 63:8, "My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me."
Ps 68:5, "A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation."
Ps 72:6-7, "He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth. In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth."
Is 40:29, "He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength."
Is 40:31, "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
John 3:36, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
Phil 4:7, "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Good research, thanks for taking the time to post this.
Regarding your disagreement over my "read and pray" response, you stated that this alone can't be it because there are disagreements among Christians. And I understand your point, however, if you do a search for "basic christian doctrine" or something along those lines, you will see that there are foundamentals that Christians agree on, otherwise they are not Christians. There are of course many secondary issues that Christians are free to disagree upon (and do).
For example, Mormons may refer to themselves as Christians, however, they do not believe in the Trinity and they also believe that the Book of Mormon and other text are just as sacred and relevant as the Bible.
What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
Every word of God [is] pure: he [is] a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught [it], but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, you need not be confused by their beliefs, because they are outside Christian doctrine. My advice to you would be to research Christian doctrine. Then, we you are confused by preaching/teaching, you can test it against the Scripture you know which defines Christian doctrine.
Now I know some of the fundamental doctrines that most claim as “Christian” to be contrary to the Bible, which is why I liked your original advice of prayer and bible study.
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