Day 22: A faith that works – Part 7d

The proof of the pudding is in the eating

Bible References (NIV)

Devotional

Have you ever been in a situation where you were expected to believe something just because that was the expectation? This is the nature of ‘culture’. This dynamic can be as true of a Christian (church) culture as of atheism, any other religion or even any other club. Beliefs become a part of a culture — and it follows that participants are expected to conform.

A question the Bible affirms is, ‘What is true?’ Whatever our current culture believes about religion doesn’t matter as much as what is true. Additionally, if a belief is true we should expect that it works in experience — not just in theory. Rational evidence should line up with experiential evidence. Today we’re looking at this ‘personal experiential’ dynamic within the Christian faith.

It would not be an exaggeration to say there are hundreds of millions of amazing personal testimonies to be found in Christian churches across our planet. While this faith is sadly sometimes reduced to lifeless traditions, where the faith is kept alive and authentic, the amazing evidence of personal testimony is no further away than a good question!

Today’s video clip summarises some examples. Its stories intentionally look to the extremes of human behaviour to illustrate the life-changing power of this faith.

If a loving God does exist and can be known, how could we test the truth of that? The answer is in those hundreds of millions of testimonies! When a person becomes a Christian a pattern follows. Their behaviour, character and attitudes mysteriously begin to change for the better!

One of my friends has been an alcoholic for decades. He was often lost in the drink for days at a time without memory of it. He was also a devout atheist, and would sometimes visit me when he’d been drinking just to argue his case. Then a family crisis just over a year ago led him to depression. Feeling without hope, he made a decision. While he said at the time that the Christian faith still made no sense, he also knew he couldn’t overcome the drink without God’s help. Choosing faith, he has now gone for more than 12 months without a drink. This is after over 40 years of alcoholism and many prior attempts to ‘beat the bottle’. When I asked what enabled this change his reply was clear. ‘Your fella!’ (God — as revealed through Jesus). What’s interesting to me is that his manner has also become more gentle. Swearwords that were a part of nearly every sentence are fading away — and all without anyone suggesting this. He was always a fun and caring kind of person — and maybe now he is more so. There is also hope that the family circumstance might be resolved — for which I thank God and continue to pray.

This is the kind of change Christianity makes. The Christian faith doesn’t only work in theory and logic — but also in practice. When people seek God with a humility of heart, he can be found!

Video clip: A faith that works – Part 7d — 3:40mins

Reflection questions

  • How important is the evidence of personal experience, and why?
  • What stories do you know of in which a person connected with God through faith and changed?
  • What difference has knowing God made in your own life?

For prayer

“Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the miraculous way you work in our lives as we open our hearts to you. The stories of your goodness are truly encouraging. We are so grateful. Thank you.”

related topics

coming up in our next devotion

Day 23: A faith that works – Part 7e

Data showing that those who embraced this faith experienced improved marriage strength, marital satisfaction, life satisfaction, an increased sense of meaning in life, higher educational levels, volunteer more, become more generous to charitable causes, have more civic engagement, improved financial stability, more stable long-term family dynamics, improved long-term physical health and increased longevity in life.

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