(To see the first 5 reasons, please visit our website www.joemckeever.com and scroll to the article for September 16, 2014. Permission is given to anyone wishing to reprint these or pass them along in any Christ-honoring way.)
I believe in Jesus Christ–to my mind that is synonymous with “I believe in God”–for so many reasons, these among them….
6) THIS WORLD. Planet earth is uniquely adapted for life, unlike any other place our greatest scientists have yet discovered in the universe. Factors that make earth different from any other place ever found include….
The life-giving atmosphere…the abundance of water….the distance of the earth from the sun…the rotation of the earth…the tilt on its axis…the symbiotic balance of plants and animals…the riches in the soil…the seasons. These and hundreds more factors, known mostly to the scientifically minded, have combined to pull off the greatest miracle of the universe so far discovered: Earth.
To date, scientists have seen nothing in the vast heavens which even remotely approaches this wonderful planet on which we live. Earth is a miracle. As it zooms around our sun at 67,000 mph–while our solar system moves throughout our galaxy and the galaxy itself spins across the heavens at supersonic speeds–my coffee cup sits steadily beside my laptop with nary a ripple in the liquid. No turbulence. How does the Almighty God manage this? I am in awe.
If you can believe in earth, Heaven should be a cinch for you! I believe in God because of earth.
“In the beginning God created the Heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). As commentator Paul Harvey noted after a space probe sent back pictures of planets in our solar system, “So far, earth is still the gem of the universe.”
7) THE ALCHEMY. In the Middle Ages, alchemy was the pseudo-science (some would call it “protoscience,” the forerunner of today’s scientific methods) by which people experimented with turning base metals into gold or silver, among other things. They never managed to pull that off, but the word has remained to signify anything commonplace transformed into a treasure.
The living God turns night into day, mourning into dancing, and suffering into times of purifying and enrichment. “Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing” (Psalm 30:11). The psalmist said, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn thy word” (Psalm 119:71).
People wonder about suffering and pain. To the shallow-minded who prefer quick easy answers, the existence of pain proves atheism. “A loving God would not allow pain,” they declare. Which must be news to the loving God. Anyone who takes time to read their Bible thoroughly–and pay attention to life itself–comes to a new appreciation for God’s ability to use suffering in our lives–schooling us, reforming us, deepening and growing us in ways that peace and prosperity could never accomplish. “All sunshine makes a desert,” an adage from the American Indians, seems to fit here.
Any teenage boy knows that to develop a muscle, you apply stress. When God wants to grow His children, He allows the storms to buffet them.
The story of Job is not the only example Scripture gives of suffering’s great power. The saga of Joseph in Genesis chapters 37-50 is a powerful example. Scripture even says of the Lord Jesus, “He learned obedience from the things which He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).
Far from having to defend the existence of pain and suffering in this world, God’s people find ourselves impressed at how He uses it. (At this point, I need to say we do not want suffering and definitely prefer to skip that class altogether. As Scripture itself says, “No chastening for the present time seems joyful… Yet afterwards, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” Hebrews 12:11.)
I believe in God because when I walked through the darkness, He was there.
8) THE JOY. Where does this inner sunshine come from? Certainly not from me. My positive-thinking cannot account for its presence.
Joy shows up at the strangest of times, too.
I walked into the hospital emergency room where they had just brought 80-year-old Maybelle Montgomery. The phone call to the church said she had fallen and broken her hip. Mrs. Montgomery lived in a tiny house off the hill from downtown Columbus, Mississippi. She never had much of this world’s goods, but the radiance of the Lord was always shining forth from this wonderful lady. As I entered the emergency entrance, lying on the gurney where they had brought her, Mrs. Montgomery spotted her pastor and called out so all could hear, “Praise the Lord, preacher! He left me one good leg!”
I could not help laughing. “What are we going to do with you?” I asked. A couple of years later, when she died, I could not help thinking that Heaven, a place noted for its joy, received an infusion of joy when Mrs. Maybelle arrived. I believe in God because I have known Maybelle Montgomery.
Joy, they say, is “the flag flown from the castle of your heart to show the King is in residence.” Scripture is loaded with joy-promises to the faithful.
“In thy presence there is fulness of joy,” says Psalm 16:11. Around the throne, it’s all joy. Joy is the very atmosphere of Heaven. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…” (Galatians 5:22). (How wonderful it will be to live in a land where no one is griping and complaining is not allowed! Ask any pastor. Smiley-face goes here.)
Anyone and everyone indwelt by the Lord of Heaven knows this inner joy. Disciples of the Lord Jesus going through hellish experiences here on Earth often exhibit the most amazing joy and peace. People watching them come away thinking they’re either in denial, a little crazy, or they know something. We read Acts 16:25 and smile. I believe in God because of those who “pray and sing hymns at midnight.”
(Note: Joy is not to be confused with happiness, which is based on happenings. Joy is the inner radiance emanating from the living Lord.)
9) THE RESURRECTION. This is the miracle of miracles, the single most important act of God which is available to be considered and analyzed in order to make an intelligent decision on Jesus Christ. Everything about the Christian faith depends on the reality of the physical resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
We must not be deterred by skeptics who say nothing that happened 2,000 years ago can be proven or disproven. Many historians who have studied all the evidence–and there is plenty–have come away saying, “If we can believe anything at all in antiquity, we can believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave.” I recommend Josh McDowell’s books “Evidence That Demands a Verdict” and from Lee Strobel “The Case for Christ,” “The Case for Faith,” and several other books on this theme.
On trial for preaching the gospel, Paul told King Agrippa, “This thing (the death/burial/resurrection of Jesus) was not done in a corner” (Acts 26:26). It was seen by hundreds and can be verified by anyone who cares enough to check it out.
As a young believer, I came across a quote from Benjamin Franklin which I have looked for ever since in his autobiography. The way I recall, he spoke of the British preacher George Whitefield whom he would hear from time to time. Franklin told how “he often spoke of the resurrection of Jesus, which thing I never bothered to look into.” (If I find the exact quote, I’ll either put it here or remove this altogether if it turns out my memory had it wrong.)
The great 15th chapter of First Corinthians is called “The Resurrection Chapter.” There’s nothing else like it in the Bible. At one point, the Apostle Paul tells how everything stands or falls on the resurrection of Jesus. If He is not raised–that is, if He is still decomposing in some grave somewhere–then those who have died in Christ are gone, there is no gospel, we are still in our sins, we who believe the gospel are deceived, we who preach it are deceivers only to be pitied, and we are of all men most miserable. (I Corinthians 15:12-19).
Then, Paul says–excuse me while I laugh a little and shout a lot!–“But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of those who sleep!” (I Corinthians 15:20). He ends with this taunt: “O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory? Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (15:55,57).
10) THE CHRISTIAN LIFE ITSELF. Here’s the thing: The closer we get to Jesus Christ, the more like Him we become, and wonder of wonders, the more like ourselves we become at the same time.
Do not ask me to explain that. It is true nonetheless.
The more complete and mature we become. The better we become. By “better,” I mean as we grow in Christ we become more fully human, more loving to those around us, more compassionate to those in need, we demonstrate greater character qualities such as integrity and self-discipline, and are able to think more clearly and to be helpers and not agents of destruction.
Man is naturally self-centered. The baby in the crib is crying not for his brother to be fed or his sister to be attended to, but only for himself. Our lower nature, what Scripture calls our “flesh” or our “old man,” is selfish, impatient, indulgent, pleasure-seeking, and power-hungry. As we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ and then live in a daily obedient relationship with Him, we change. We gradually exhibit the nine qualities Scripture calls “the fruit of the Spirit”–love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
I believe in Jesus Christ because He is at work in me this very moment.
I commend Him to you.
“We beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
A Christian is a proof of the existence of God.