How do I know that God is real? How do I know that the gospel message is true? What is it like to experience God? How will I know when I have? What do feelings have to do with faith? Are there times when they seem to contradict themselves? What does it mean to develop a deeper relationship with God? How deep is deep enough? Why does it matter? How will my life be different and better when I choose to pursue God daily?
Lots of questions. You’ve probably asked yourself some or all of these at one time or another. It’s part of our human nature to want to know with some assurance that what we are putting our faith in is genuine. We want evidence to support what we believe not only for ourselves but for those that we talk to about Jesus and their need for him.
God does provide lots of evidence for us and we see it when we know what to look for. Experiencing God, for example, is much more than what is physically visible. It is spiritual in nature and is seen with eyes of faith. It is faith that activates our senses to the realities of God’s presence and his workings. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see….By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible…And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:1,3,6
It is your faith that enables you to see and believe spiritually what you couldn’t see and confirm physically. God also operates this way in confirming the validity and power of his word to us. This Sunday I am going to be speaking to you about the confirming evidence that God provides to support the message about Christ, “with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power” (1 Corinthians 2:4). When you and I take the step of faith to tell others about Jesus and teach them his word, the Holy Spirit does some powerful things to confirm the truth. Why does God do this? What might happen if he didn’t? What does this demonstration look like?
I will address these questions and offer some insights on this aspect of experiencing God. To prepare, read over 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5 in the next few days and think about how and why the Holy Spirit does all of this for us.