This past weekend we kicked off an exciting new series entitled “You Asked For It”. We asked you to give us questions that you would like to see answered during the weekend service, and you guys responded in a huge way.
Throughout this series, we will have a chance to dive in and take a look at some very difficult and hard to answer questions. In order to do that though, we need to recognize how we respond to those unbelievable and hard to understand things in our lives.
We all have different ways in which we respond. Each one of us is unique. We have different personalities, passions, and past experiences that form who we are and how we respond to things.
I was raised in a Christian family that went to church regularly on Sunday mornings, often Wednesday nights as well. It wasn’t uncommon for me to be at church two to three times a week. Academically, I attended a private Christian school in elementary and remained in Christian education through high school. On all accounts, I would say that I had a solid foundation to draw from when life’s difficult questions surfaced.
However, the things that I believed as a child did not always hold up to my experiences in adult life. I believed God would answer my prayer, but when my uncle passed away despite my prayers, it was hard to understand. I strived to be a good person and do what was right, but I wondered why my hopes and expectation were not met, especially when the hopes and expectations of others that frankly didn’t care how they lived their life or how they treated others, seemed to come true. Why would God seemingly bless people who didn’t care about him and not bless someone who was following him?
How do we respond to questions like this? This past weekend, Ben talked about seven different responses that we may have when confronted with life’s hard to believe or hard to understand questions in life. Identifying our particular response can actually clarify the next step we need to take that will lead us to the answers or understanding that we are seeking.
Here is the list of common responses that we have to things we don’t believe or understand:
CYNIC – believes that people are driven purely by self-interest.
- They question the motives behind what is difficult to believe or understand.
- Their temptation is to not trust people.
- Their next step is to engage in authentic relationship.
DOUBTER/SKEPTIC – expresses an unfavorable opinion of something.
- They question validity.
- Their temptation is to become judgmental.
- Their next step is to bring their criticism pointed at others to their own worldview.
FEELER – bases their beliefs on their feelings.
- They question what doesn’t feel right.
- Their temptation is to become fickle.
- Their next step is to build convictions that they hold even when it doesn’t feel right.
DAYDREAMER – is distracted from the present.
- They question nothing.
- Their temptation is to have a careless attitude and go through the motions.
- Their next step is to build spiritual disciplines that create learning and engagement.
BLIND BELIEVER – speaks with conviction on things they don’t really understand.
- They believe questions are bad.
- Their temptation is to live off of the faith of others.
- Their next step is to dig deeper in an area they are passionate about.
DEEPER BELIEVER – wants more than the weekend teaching.
- They question the depth of others’ beliefs.
- Their temptation is to become a biblical consumer.
- Their next step is to help someone else grow.
SEEKER – is attempting to find or obtain something
- They question what is their next step.
- Their temptation is to go alone.
- Their next step is to find a guide.
When I was confronted with these hard to believe and hard to understand issues in life, my default response was to just keep believing. It was easier not to question things and just accept what I had been taught. After all, those principles I learned came from individuals who had more life experience than I did. But just accepting their word for it would have been me living off of their faith and not my own.
I eventually learned that in order to find the answers to my questions, I would need to dig deeper. I had to realize that having questions wasn’t a bad thing; it actually gave me a reason and opportunity to seek God and to know him more.
And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
Hebrews 11:6 is the memory verse that accompanies the “You Asked For It” series. I love that this verse encourages us to seek him. When we seek, we investigate, search out, and scrutinize. We ask questions; and when we ask questions, it causes us to engage in relationship with the very God we are questioning. In the end, we will be rewarded for seeking, and that reward will come in the form of having a closer relationship with God.
Over the next four days of the LivingItOut, we will look at the story of two followers of Jesus that struggled to understand the events happening around them. Through their story we will see how they were encouraged to be seekers and to engage in conversation. As they engaged in conversation, they found hope through an encounter with Jesus. My hope is that their story will help you seek answers to your questions and that those questions will lead you to a closer relationship with Jesus.
What are you currently struggling to understand or believe?
From the list of the seven responses, can you identify how you are responding to your struggle?
After identifying your type of response, find the corresponding “next step.” Write out a next step that you can begin taking this week.
God, thank you for being a God that encourages us to seek you. You are a God that does not just have answers for us, you are the answer. A closer relationship with you is the reward we receive when we seek you. In my unbelief or uncertainty, help me identify my response and the next step I need to take to grow closer to you. Amen.
This post was written by Ben Bockert, the Director of the LivingItOut Bible Study.
Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?
We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!