If there is a mental disorder for manic doubt, or doubt attacks, I think I have it. A couple of times a year I have these mini-crises where I doubt everything. I’m not talking, “If I can’t see it I don’t believe it” doubt, I’m talking Matrix, “there is no spoon”, “is this all a dream?” doubt. It’s in the pit of my soul. I can feel it around my heart. I lose sleep and I freak out for days or weeks at a time. I question everything.
Of course God, Jesus, religion, all of it, gets put on trial when I go through these bouts. What if there is no God? What if the Bible is wrong? What if Jesus was just a moral teacher? What if I’m a Christian only because I was born in America? What if all my atheist friends are right and I could be sleeping in on Sundays? What...If...All of it…It flies through my brain at lightning speed. I wish I could tape it all and put it on YouTube.
Do you know what keeps me here? Do you know what keeps me with the Bible and Jesus and Christianity? It’s the only religion or philosophy that is honest with me. The Bible tells me in the midst of my doubt, inferiority, brokenness, and weakness that I am inferior, broken, and weak. I know in our self help, everybody’s special, life your best life now, I blame the system and my mom, world this is not what’s supposed to be said, but the truth is at the least cathartic and at the most freeing.
We are screwed. We are royally messed up. Can you honestly look into yourself and say, “I’m naturally good”? If you can then you are delusional. Can you honestly bank on the idea that by the time you die you will have done more good stuff then bad stuff? Not to mention, whose standard are you using? If you’re true to yourself that’s great, but are you the universal standard for right and wrong? No, you are not. I’m sorry to tell you that. I hope your therapist, bong, or social media can have a field day with that realization.
The Bible, God, and Jesus are honest with us about our current condition. We are irrevocably broken and there is nothing we can do about it. There is no balm, there is no bandage, there is no stitch to take care of the deep gash that we have. There is not a doctor smart enough, a drug good enough, sex amazing enough to fix the fact that we intentionally do stupid stuff. Sure, you can cover it up, you can hide it, that’s fantastic, but when we pull a Homer Simpson and put electrical tape over the “check engine” light in our car in hopes of the problem going away deep down we know the repercussions are coming and we aren’t doing the right thing.
That’s what keeps me in the Bible. That’s what keeps me in with Jesus. That’s the Grace of God. He doesn’t lie to us or let us lie to ourselves. He says, “You are broken. You need help. I have the only help.” A lot of people don’t like this. A lot of people think God is an arrogant prick because He claims to have the only way and acts like He’s in charge.
But what if He’s right? What if our best efforts are not going to cut it? Wouldn’t you rather be told that upfront then wasting all of your time? God doesn’t pull any punches. “Your righteousness is like a dirty tampon to me” (Isaiah 64:6). God isn’t interested in the good stuff we do to try to appease Him. He has no interest in how “good” we are. He doesn’t set up a list of do’s and don’ts that must be completed before we die. All He said is “Follow me.”
See, that’s where Jesus is a horrible moral teacher. He doesn’t teach us how to be good, instead He teaches us how we don’t have anything good in us that aren’t a lonely remnant of Eden. Jesus teaches us that He is the answer to God’s impossible standard. God is His own answer because He’s that big. He doesn’t need us to answer questions for Him and He doesn’t need to answer all our questions either. He doesn’t HAVE to do anything, but He did.
Believe me, in another post we will get into this much, much, deeper. What I want you to do now is take solace, comfort, and joy in the fact that, on our own, we are screwed.
Danny Exyle is the chief writer for www.sinnerscircle.blogspot.com
(Photo attribution: http://www.womenaregamechangers.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/love-story.jpg)
Daniel 11:38 "He shall honor the god of fortresses instead of these. A god whom his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts."
I don’t know about you but I believe scripture speaks on many levels. In this blog I want to look at “fortresses” in the spiritual and mental context. With so much mass media saturation via Hollywood and the music industry, I believe as Christians we should choose more carefully what we digest from the enormous amount of media sources available today. Especially television, movies and music. While some things are clearly unhealthy and offensive, there is still so much more that we often do not perceive or think is effecting us.
It’s common for people to deflect their hardships on to God, or outright blame Him. I do not agree with that as His Word tells me otherwise in Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."
Father clearly tells us his intentions toward us. Furthermore, the Word reveals the enemy and his works and the source of hardships and sorrows in 1 Peter 5:8 "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour."
Many may say, “How can he harm me, I’m a Christian?” Let me ask, and I include myself in this, what books do you read, movies do you watch, TV shows, what music are you listening to, do you read horoscopes and play games like GTA? These are all “footholds” the devil can use to build “fortresses”, if we allow. Have you ever been in a great mood then suddenly find yourself road-raging, or yelling at your dog…? What song was playing on the radio recently, what in your environment triggered that sudden mood shift? It’s well documented that music and images directly effect our mood and can even stir emotions. So with this notion, can you begin to see why it’s important to safeguard our minds against giving satan “footholds” to build “fortresses”?
How can we accomplish this vigilance? Changing habits, watch less television, listen to music that edifies and lifts you up, spend more time just talking to our Father, talking to each other. Hey, I’m nobody to be telling you how you should live, I just know what works for me. But try it and pray about it. Change some habits, the results can only be positive. And the next time you think, “why did this happen to me, why do I feel this way?” Give praise to God and seek out that “fortress” and destroy it in the name of Jesus. If we are truly following Christ it shouldn’t be hard to leave some unnecessary things behind.
Grace and peace!
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
This article was written by Thomas Austin
Matthew 27:14 But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.
Silence is Golden
What amazing obedience we see in Jesus. Falsely and unjustly accused, with every right and ability to defend Himself and refute all accusations...yet He remained silent. Of course, as believers, we know why He did not defend Himself. He had a destiny to fulfill. Jesus came to redeem a lost and sinful world (John 6:40), not to defend Himself. As believers and followers of Christ we should always walk in His footsteps, learning and teaching from His perfect example (Matthew 16:24).
Turn Turn Turn
Don't get me wrong, the Word in Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us there is a season for every purpose under Heaven. And all throughout the New Testament the Apostle Paul tells us to contend for the faith. We even see Jesus strongly rebuking, even to the point of calling names, like "hypocrites" or "brood of vipers" (Matthew 23). So, how do we know when to speak and when not to?
Pride Goes Before
Proverbs 16:18 warns that pride goes before destruction. That's a good rule of thumb to go by. I can't tell you how many times I've been guilty of being right, yet being SO wrong. I constantly keep my tongue in check by asking myself that old line, "what's my motivation?", if what I'm going to say is self-seeking then it's probably not even worth saying. Even if, and often, ESPECIALLY if I'm right.
As Christians we are told to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-14). Salt is flavoring but also an abrasive, it's rough, but can polish. Sometimes we may need to share the raw and salty truth with someone who needs to hear it. And that's not prideful, that's love. And then there's times when we just need to silently yet brilliantly shine to light the way. Or maybe just be a warming soft glow that comforts. Whatever the need, we can always know just which is necessary when we remove "self" from the equation. And that's what Christ did for us, so should we for each other.
This article was written by Thomas Austin
The official Christian Culture blog of Grok Radio!