By Stephen L France
Is God real?
It’s January 2, 2017 and for the last few days, this question has emerged as one of my first thoughts when I wake up.
It’s arisen as a reflection of 2016’s many unnatural deaths in the News, the extreme changes within our world, and the seemingly impossible trials of life.
When I say trials, there is vast diversity here.
We have the obvious challenges of financial troubles, maintenance of good health, and responsibility to uphold a stable life. But in moving toward a Christ-like life, other mental debates materialise, bringing a distinct clash between pride and humility.
One of my own personal situations over the Christmas period, was understanding ‘loving selflessly.’ It really tested my mind as I read and meditated on the attribute in 1 John 4 – especially when faced with a hateful individual, who I’m called to love because it’s God’s way.
In the two years I’ve known the Lord, I’ve observed a multitude of trials that have grown progressively challenging.
My selfish questions have been:
When will I get to relish His blessings?
When will the excitement I used to gain from secular lifestyle be replaced with the joy that He promises?
This funnels into my central mental discussion – is God real?
Sometimes I need to remind myself of the practical parts of faith in order to re-engage with God’s spiritual clarity.
Both reading the Bible as well as the transformation of my mindset, continue to show me that He is indeed real, and His Word is the Way, Truth, and the Life [John 14:6] – here’s why…
The Word of God
As a literature student and an avid reader of motivational books, the very Word of God has more wisdom than anything I’ve ever examined.
In a single verse, one can find all they require to live; I’m sure this is why Jesus called Himself ‘the bread of life’ [John 6:35]. For example: “See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.” [1 Thessalonians 5:15]
God addresses the natural urge inside us to balance the scales when we’re hurt, but commands us to take a different path, contrary to our pride. If this wisdom spread throughout the globe, it’s clear it would improve the world dramatically.
Behaving this way is a fierce challenge to pride and a part of life that I’ve been tested on quite thoroughly, but it’s these many controversial laws that have shown me that this particular Book is of the supernatural.
Transformation of Mind
Transformation spoken of in Ezekiel 36:26 and more commonly known in Romans 12:2 talks of changing our subconscious; a process that I always thought was impossible. However, in the last two years, I’ve noticed a comparable difference in my behaviour, that has not required any concentration or effort.
My question by the end of 2016 was:
How is it that a book translated into old, fragmented English, has had a powerful transformation on my mind
in comparison to
a multitude of modern, motivational books that had temporary effects?
A perfect example is that most comprehensive motivational books offer the advice, “live in the present,” or “be in today.”
A Bible verse for this particular life lesson is: ‘Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.’ [Matthew 6:34]
Digesting this verse has subtracted a great deal of anxiety from my life and compelled me to sincerely appreciate every single day as it comes.
I often ask myself why I haven’t been able to live like this before – I’d read this type of lesson many times over in alternative philosophical books with much easier English to comprehend; yet, the Bible has somehow stapled it in my heart.
That said, Christmas and New Year was a period where things grew proverbially hot and I could almost feel the ‘dark forces’ smashing against an invisible barrier around me; hence the question – is God real? and the egocentric queries comprising it.
Nevertheless, with the Word of God coming to life through the transformation of my mind, I’m consistently shown that God is making His presence known and that my next step is very simple.
After having ample proof for our Lord’s existence (which would be an entire dissertation – a little too much for a blog post), I’m to now do what He says during the storm:
Be still and know that He is God [Psalm 46:10] – a solid and challenging principle to abide by as I journey into the new year.