Have you ever asked yourself why you believe what you believe?
When questioned on your core convictions are you able to answer truthfully and honestly without struggling to put together a solid answer? Do the convictions that drive you to believe hold true when you are questioned about why you believe them?
Every belief takes an element of trusting in the unknown. Every argument for or against an individual belief has the potential to embolden or to deteriorate that belief. Having a solid understanding of what you believe and why you hold it to be true are essential to know when you are questioned, and you will be questioned.
Robyn, my wife, has told me of times when her dad would sit at the table and ask her questions about her beliefs and her faith. In an environment of safety she was being prepared for the questions that may come in the future.
Faith is more often believing in what we hope for and don’t see rather than in what we do see all around us everyday. Faith is understanding and knowing that there is more going on around us than we could ever guess and that there is a bigger plan at work than the small part we see. Faith is believing in the midst of the enemy feeding us lies. In the midst of the most dreary circumstances, faith is still believing even if it doesn’t seem possible that God exists and that there really is some good in the world.
In a world, that is Biblically described as being in darkness, Christians must be able to know and explain why we follow the light. We must not be afraid to stand firm in our beliefs, while at the same time understanding that fewer and fewer people hold those beliefs to be true.
In The Silver Chair, by C.S. Lewis, there is a critical point of tension. The witch is trying to convince the heroes that their sun doesn’t really exist, that their grass doesn’t really exist, and that everything they have known to be true is only a story that they have made up. Trapped in darkness and being enchanted by the witch they nearly give up hope. It is in those moments that an unlikely hero speaks up.
“Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things - trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play-world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.” - Puddleglum The Silver Chair
The only reason he was able to stand with clarity and conviction is that Puddleglum believed all of these things to be true. In a moment all that he had known was questioned and he was able to stand up, though the enemy seemed to be winning.
This is how it must be with our faith and beliefs. We must be able and prepared to give an answer for why we believe, not out of anger or defensive indigence, but out of a heart of love and conviction.
“but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” - 1 Peter 3:15
Your faith and beliefs will be questioned. The faith and beliefs of your children and grandchildren will be questioned. Are you prepared to make a defense and to give a reason for the hope that is in you?