Christianity is a journey. There’s a beginning, and then a series of steps as we pursue a personal connection with God. Along the way, we encounter genuine questions, doubts, and concerns. While we may never have all our questions answered, we can and should remove any obstacles that make it difficult to embrace the message of Jesus, or any circumstances that could derail our confidence in God. Over the next few weeks in this blog, I will address the most commonly asked questions, doubts and concerns related to Christianity. Sometimes we get stuck in a routine spiritually. That’s why it’s a good exercise to ask some uncomfortable questions every once in a while to examine where we have been and where we are going in our spiritual journey.
The first question is the most basic: Is Christ real to me? Or, in other words, what does it mean to get really serious about being a Christ-follower? About living your life from, through and for Him? About having joy as your constant companion regardless of circumstances, living in the world, but not letting it have a hold on you.
For Christ to be real, we have to remove any doubt as to whether God is who He says He is. Paul said he gave up everything because the joy of knowing and experiencing Christ made everything else worthless in comparison. Is Jesus real to us like this? Do we have the desire to make Jesus so real that it makes a practical, impactful difference in our life? Do we have the wisdom to remove the myths, lies and doubts that have kept us from living our lives in a way that glorifies God? What about understanding the Bible? Do you know how it all fits and the one, magnificent story that flows through each of the sixty-six books?
While it would take several books to really delve into this subject, I would like to share several ways to make Christ more real to you.
The first is the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:16 says, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” The Holy Spirit is a valuable asset in making Christ real to us, especially when it comes to doubt and persecution. The Holy Spirit provides concrete assurance for the believer and testifies to our connection with God through a deep inner conviction that sustains us during times of trial and doubt.
The second is our sanctification or spiritual growth. None of us are where we want to be in our walk with God, but hopefully we are not where we were some years ago. Jesus becomes more real to us as we learn and grow in Him. That means a growing love for the lost. A sharper eye for spiritual truth and error. A deep appreciation for Christian fellowship and a fierce will to trust and obey God.
Next is an appetite for God, or a deeper hunger for all things of God. Christ will become more real as we pursue things like prayer, the Bible, mission work, and small group fellowship.
And, as we desire those things I just mentioned, we learn to resist the world’s constant offers and temptations. As Christ becomes more real, we find the desire and the ability to stiff-arm those temptations that cause us to lose spiritual traction.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to make Christ more real is to study His word. The historical record of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the bedrock of Christianity. What I know about making Christ real I learned from the Bible. And what I know about nurturing spiritual growth I know from what the Bible teaches. Our faith is not a groundless faith. A blind faith. It’s a historical faith. The more you read and grasp the word of God, the more real our Savior will become to you.
You may list other things that explain why Christ is real to you other than those I have listed. There are certainly more. After all each person is different and God wants a personal relationship with every one of us. So naturally, the circumstances, doubts and questions will be personal to each of us. It’s all well and good when we can account for the reasons that God is real to us. But I’ve got two follow up questions for you: Is his reality changing you? And can He be more real in your life?
We should never get satisfied with the reality of Christ in our life. In fact, our goal should be to make Him a little more real than the day before.
Pastor’s Note: If you are interested in additional materials on this subject, I would the like to recommend the following: