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? - Sorry to over simplify - but read and pray, read and pray.
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 - you can't read the Bible and know whether God will heal you. However, remember this, everything has a purpose.
The man born blind from birth was that way for God's glory (John 9:1-3). However, Paul was not healed from his affliction, (2 Corinthians 12:7-10) and he learned that God's grace was sufficient. So healed or not healed, both have a purpose.
Works vs. grace - this is the most important of your issues, and the answer is definitively GRACE, works our a RESULT of our salvation, not a path to it. Ephesians 2:8-9, Galatians 2:16 and others.
Speaking in tongues being biblical or not - what do you mean? It occurred in the bible, so it is biblical. However, refer to 1 Corinthians chapter 12. If someone is speaking in tongues currently, there should be an interpreter (verse 13, verse 28) and it should be intelligible (verse 9). What does intelligible mean? Tongues are foreign languages (Acts 2:1-11)
I am simply unable to decide what is right. Some christians say this and others say that. -
It doesn't matter what Christians say - even me, that is why I direct you back to Bible verses, READ the BIBLE.
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? - God will answer you, it just may not be what you expect, so you may not even realize it has been answered. Isaiah 55:9
Remember, we are silly little mortals with a very short perspective, God is the Eternal Heavenly Father who knows best.
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.
My suggestion would be to simplify your prayer life, maybe you are constantly asking God for these huge things, and you aren't understanding his answers so you feel you don't have enough faith or that God isn't answering you.
Maybe you should take the time to just focus on having a relationship with God. Use the prayers that Jesus modelled for us in Luke 11 as a basis for your prayer, asking/thanking God for your daily needs, praying for His will in your life, asking forgiveness of sins and forgiving others, then just spend time talking with Him.
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 the wrong way to look at it, God is SOVEREIGN. He will do what he wants to do. If that means healing you, then he will do it regardless of your faith. Look at Naaman the leper (2 Kings 5), he was reluctant to do what was necessary to be healed, and yet God still healed him.
Don't get me wrong, I am not minimizing faith, however, God's sovereignty trumps our faith ANYDAY, ANYTIME.
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.