Spiritual Growth?; Learning Under Jesus

Note: This series is written as a first-person narrative in order to present Jesus in the context he walked with the unknown disciple that narrates presenting my thoughts and sparking more thoughts with his questions. Enjoy!

Jesus looked at us, smiled, and said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground,” while mimicking throwing seed on the ground. He gestured at the sky, “Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.

Kneeling to cup a handful of dirt and let it trickle from between his fingers, “All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.” He made a slashing movement with his hand.

As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.

This is tying into the four types of soil. I just know it. The path, the rocky and thin dirt, the soil covered with thorns and the good dirt. Spiritual growth?

Mark 4:26-29

Are You Wrestling With Doubt?

Have you ever dealt with doubt? Doubting the faith? I have, occasionally still do. I couldn’t pin it down until I did Bible.com’s “Doubting Towards Faith” reading plan. I linked to it in the title. One of the days dealt with intellectual doubt.

What’s Intellectual Doubt?

I’ve studied and made the case for Christianity. I can make it evidentially thanks to books such as Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels and God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe by J. Warner Wallace. William Lane Craig’s Defenders and Reasonable Faith podcasts help me make it philosophically.

However, some days it just doesn’t feel real, and other days vibrantly so.

Everyone deals with it. C.S Lewis did and had something to say in the Faith chapter of Mere Christianity.

C.S Lewis’ Thoughts On Doubt

“Now faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding onto things your reason has once accepted in spite of your changing moods. For moods will change whatever view your reason takes. I know that by experience. Now that I am a Christian I do have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable: but when I was an atheist I had moods and which Christianity looked terribly probable.”
“This rebellion of your moods against your real self is going to come anyway. That is why faith is such a necessary virtue: Unless you tell your moods where to get off, you can Never be either a sound Christian or a sound atheist. Just a creature dithering to and fro.”
“Consequently one must train the habit of faith. The first step is to recognize the fact that your mood change. The next is to make sure that, if you have once accepted Christianity, then some of it’s main doctrines shall be deliberately Held before your mind for some time every day. We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed.”

But what about unanswered questions?

Here’s an excerpt from the reading plan I mentioned earlier:

“With an increasing number of unanswered questions, how does a Christian keep his passion for Christ intact? Hank Hanegraaff, The Bible Answer Man, once told me: “Instead of being crushed by a gigantic snowball of questions, let your questions increase your awe for God. If we could figure God out, He’d be a pretty small God.” That resonated with me.”

I got hung up on ‘devotional”. Aren’t those touchy-feely? It’s taking an act of God to make me touchy-feely. It is a good point though.

Here’s a tip I read: just begin thanking God for stuff. You’ll be a one-person worship service. Don’t neglect one for the other, though; remember the Greatest Commandment.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 
Mark 12:30

Have you, or do you struggle with doubts sometimes?

Be Shrewd As Snakes and Innocent As Doves

I sometimes wonder if I’m becoming naive. It used to be that I was really jaded and suspicious of most everyone. That’s the only way to be a good Batman. My journey so far swings in extremes, I’ve gone the complete opposite to break out of old patterns and now finding equilibrium.

I once saw a pastor write ‘love everyone, but trust is earned.’ Even Jesus wouldn’t have his disciples to be so trusting. He wasn’t.

I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
Matthew 10:16

That’s the balance I’ve been working on, part of it is setting boundaries, and finding where I will not bend. In studying this verse, I looked into a thesaurus for synonyms for shrewd and innocent.

It didn’t make it much easier. Using what I found, Jesus says to be sharp, clever, and knowing while simultaneously being pure, impeccable, and sinless. It reminded me of John 2:24-25.

But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.

It cross-referenced John 6:61, 64.

Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, Does this offend you?

Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him.

Jesus could read people, knew their motives and levels of belief. We should too. The world is dangerous and will only get more so.