I have had the opportunity to interact with many Christians over my lifetime. In talking to folks, I have noticed that they tend to fall into one of three categories as it relates to the level of confidence that they have about expressing their faith.
First, there are those who have no basis for confidence at all. They, typically, don’t even want the subject of faith brought up in a conversation. They believe what they believe simply because “that is what they were taught growing up.”
The second group are those who express confidence in their in their faith as they talk, but it is obviously superficial. These are the people who will boldly assert the fact of their faith, but are unable to answer any questions that might come up about it. They are all talk and no substance.
And finally, there are some who really do know why their faith is the Truth. These are the people who are able to tell you why they believe in Christ and can share how you, too, can come to know him.
Let’s look at these three categories and evaluate them. As you read this, be honest with yourself and determine which one you fit into. You don’t have to tell anyone else, but it will give you an understanding of where you need to go in order to take yourself to the next level.
Those Who Have No Basis for Confidence
I do believe that the vast majority of Christians have personal confidence that their faith is the Truth. If they didn’t, they would follow some other faith. That being said, that same majority are not able to give a “reason for the hope that is within them.” In general, people’s faith is primarily based on the worldview assumptions that they were brought up with (with many of their assumptions being entirely unknown to their conscious mind) and/or the strong emotional feelings they had from their salvation experience.
Now, those who were brought up in the Christian faith are very fortunate in that they have a faith foundation in Truth. It is fortunate because they are in a relationship with God even though they have no clue as to why they are right. By the same token, those who had a profound emotional experience at the point of salvation are also blessed because that experience gives them a powerful affirmation of their faith.
But neither of these things is good enough, by themselves, to promote the kind of confidence we need in order to live our lives effectively in a non-believing world. Both of these elements give us a means of affirming the Truth, but do not help us understand the Truth. There are other truth claims out there and, at some point, every believer is bound to confront one of them.
If we do not know why our own faith is the Truth, two disastrous possibilities are lurking around the corner to take us down. The first possible disaster is that our own faith can be shaken. The second bad effect is that we will not have the ability to give a credible witness which can help another person come to Christ. If we want to have the confidence to be personally strong and to be able to share a witness, we have to know the why of our faith. This is where an understanding of worldview will profoundly help us.
Those Whose Confidence Is Superficial
The second category of believer is very close to the first, but consists of people who are a bit more outspoken. As with those in the first group, these people are not able to effectively express why they believe what they believe. It is just that they are strongly convinced that they are right and very protective of their worldview roots. When someone confronts them with an alternative point of view, they simply bow up and stand strong, even though they are not able to articulate why they believe what they believe.
The conviction of rightness is, though, still based on the same two things that our first group depended on. It is either a strong since of the worldview tradition passed on to them from their upbringing, or is based on a very powerful emotional experience associated with their conversion to Christ. When people in our second group stand up for their faith, it is a defense mechanism based primarily on emotion. They cannot bring themselves to confront the issue on a conscious level based on knowledge because they do not have the knowledge to do so.
Those Who Really Do Know Why Their Faith Is the Truth
There is one more category of believers, and this is the one we all ought to aspire to. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of Christians enter this arena. But it is by their own choice and no other reason. Every Christian can learn more about their faith if they are willing to put the time and effort into it. And with this article, I am urging you to do just that.
Here are the facts that we can build upon.
1. Something is the objective truth about the way reality is structured.
2. That objective truth is represented by our Christian faith.
3. There is very strong evidence that our faith is the Truth.
4. There is very strong evidence every other worldview is not the Truth.
Christians who get this, and are willing to put in the effort to grasp the knowledge supporting it, are in a position to have profound confidence in their faith as they live it out in the world. Those who are not willing to put forth the effort are, by default, stuck in one of the first two categories.
What Makes it All Work
Let’s get one thing straight. The truth is the truth whether we have the ability to communicate it from our personal storehouse of knowledge or not. So even if a person is not able to effectively give a good reason for their faith in Christ, it is still the truth. But there are two important reasons why we should not be satisfied living life not knowing the foundation of our faith. Those reasons are because: 1) without this knowledge we will be spiritually weak, and 2) there will be weaknesses in our ability to share an effective witness.
But there is one more thing that is essential for us to grasp. Knowledge alone is not sufficient. If our knowledge is mechanical rather than personal, we lose the joy of our salvation and we will push people away with our attitude. God is a real person and our relationship with him was designed by him to be personal and loving. It is possible to gain all of the right knowledge yet not operate within the realm of a personal relationship with God. We must take the extra step to interact with God on a personal level.
If we truly want to have confidence in our faith, and at the same time not feel inadequate regarding our faith, we must put the two things together – our personal relationship with God along with a conscious understanding of the hope that is within us. This is what an understanding of worldview can do for us. With this understanding in our spiritual arsenal, we will be effective in accomplishing the purpose God has in mind for our lives.
© 2007 Freddy Davis