prayer-2300736_640

As part of my morning devotions, after my regularly reading of the word, I also read through several other things, to get my mind and spirit going. Recently, I’ve started going through Dr. William Lane Craig’s Question of the Week series on his Reasonable Faith Website. Since there are currently 526, reading a Question a day will take me over a year.

This morning, I was reading Question #29 Faith and Doubt, and one paragraph of Dr. Craig’s answer really jumped out to me. Typically, if I read a sentence that jumps out to me, then I’ll tweet it or post if to Facebook (if it’s longer than Twitter’s 140 characters). Or even more recently, I’ve started a Quotes category here on my blog.

In this case, I tweeted one sentence:

You can grieve the Holy Spirit through sin and quench His leading and power by not allowing Him full reign in your life. -William Lane Craig

And posted one to Facebook:

Lone Ranger Christians generally don’t make it, and even a small group setting is no substitute for the church, which is the body of Christ locally, replete with all His gifts.
– William Lane Craig

But the paragraph that both of those sentences were from was really good. It’s advice that he was giving to the person who asked the question, and I think it’s great advice for Christians in general. (Emphasis mine):

But perhaps you’re already a regenerate Christian. Then you need to cultivate the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. You can grieve the Holy Spirit through sin and quench His leading and power by not allowing Him full reign in your life. Confess sin as soon as you’re aware of it, and allow the Holy Spirit to empower and direct you. Be sure to maintain a devotional life, with regular times alone of prayer and Bible study. Take your doubts to God and ask Him to give you grace to persevere. Cultivate the Christian virtues in your life, and then you can claim the promise of II Peter 1. 5-11: “if you do this you will never fall.” Make sure you participate in truly meaningful corporate worship in the setting of a local church. Lone Ranger Christians generally don’t make it, and even a small group setting is no substitute for the church, which is the body of Christ locally, replete with all His gifts. Be sure you’re exercising your own spiritual gift in the context of a local church, so that you are serving others. I assume that you’ve followed through on your conversion by being baptized and regularly celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Be intentional about sharing your faith with unbelievers, despite your doubts (they’ll probably respect your transparency and vulnerability!). Nothing will so infuse your spiritual life with excitement as seeing God use you to lead another person to a saving knowledge of Himself. Be on guard for Satan’s deceptions. Never lose sight of the fact that you are involved in a spiritual warfare and that there is an enemy of your soul who hates you intensely, whose goal is your destruction, and who will stop at nothing to destroy you. Which leads me to ask: why are you reading those infidel websites anyway, when you know how destructive they are to your faith? These sites are literally pornographic (evil writing) and so ought in general to be shunned. Sure, somebody has to read them and refute them; but why does it have to be you? Let somebody else, who can handle it, do it. Remember: Doubt is not just a matter of academic debate or disinterested intellectual discussion; it involves a battle for your very soul, and if Satan can use doubt to immobilize you or destroy you, then he will.

I almost posted it just as a quote in that category, yet on further reflection, there are actually 8 points to be gleamed from that paragraph:

  1. You can grieve the Holy Spirit through sin and quench His leading and power by not allowing Him full reign in your life. Confess sin as soon as you’re aware of it, and allow the Holy Spirit to empower and direct you.
  2. Be sure to maintain a devotional life, with regular times alone of prayer and Bible study.
  3. Cultivate the Christian virtues in your life, and then you can claim the promise of II Peter 1. 5-11: “if you do this you will never fall.”
  4. Make sure you participate in truly meaningful corporate worship in the setting of a local church. Lone Ranger Christians generally don’t make it, and even a small group setting is no substitute for the church, which is the body of Christ locally, replete with all His gifts.
  5. Be sure you’re exercising your own spiritual gift in the context of a local church, so that you are serving others.
  6. Be intentional about sharing your faith with unbelievers, despite your doubts (they’ll probably respect your transparency and vulnerability!). Nothing will so infuse your spiritual life with excitement as seeing God use you to lead another person to a saving knowledge of Himself.
  7. Be on guard for Satan’s deceptions. Never lose sight of the fact that you are involved in a spiritual warfare and that there is an enemy of your soul who hates you intensely, whose goal is your destruction, and who will stop at nothing to destroy you.
  8. Doubt is not just a matter of academic debate or disinterested intellectual discussion; it involves a battle for your very soul, and if Satan can use doubt to immobilize you or destroy you, then he will.

The next paragraph also gave some insight (emphasis mine):

I firmly believe, and I think the Bizarro-testimonies of those who have lost their faith and apostatized bears out, that moral and spiritual lapses are the principal cause for failure to persevere rather than intellectual doubts. But intellectual doubts become a convenient and self-flattering excuse for spiritual failure because we thereby portray ourselves as such intelligent persons rather than as moral and spiritual failures. I think that the key to victorious Christian living is not to have all your questions answered — which is probably impossible in a finite lifetime — but to learn to live successfully with unanswered questions. The key is to prevent unanswered questions from becoming destructive doubts. I believe that can be done by keeping in mind the proper ground of our knowledge of Christianity’s truth and by cultivating the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/faith-and-doubt#ixzz4hWJB0fSm

 

 

 

Advertisements