Scripture and Overcoming a Crisis of Faith

Around the age of 16, I went through something that I believe every Christian and probably anyone from any religion goes though: a crisis of faith.

Until that time I had mostly grown up in the church with only a few significant breaks in attendance. I came to saving faith in Christ at the age of 9 and was baptized in one my deacon’s pool. After that, as much as any child can, I lived as a full believer, insisting on going to Sunday school and church on a regular basis and generally acting well behaved.

This was all fine and good until one day I realized that I didn’t actually know what it was I believed. I had strong feelings about Christianity but little assurance that the things I said I believed were actually Christian. Not only that, I didn’t really know what all I claimed belief in. Looking around my hometown at other Christians didn’t really do much for confirming or explaining the belief system.

I remember the day I told my parents about my doubts. I remember it being momentous, yet strangely undramatic. I declared to my parents that I really didn’t know what Christianity was and that I was going to go about figuring it out. I told them that I was not going to give up my beliefs but rather discover what they really are. They looked at me and then at each other and said, “Ok”. There might have been some offer of help or other such thing but as a willful 16 year old, I wasn’t listening and I certainly wasn’t asking for help. I needed to do this on my own.

Nearly 15 years later I have a much better idea of the things I believe in and agree with and things that I don’t. Not only that, I understand that there’s a difference between belief and agreement. I have little doubt when it comes to the truthfulness or dependability of the Gospel and I have become strong in my faith in Jesus as the means to salvation from sin.

How did I get here? Through the reading of scripture, specifically the Bible. It is one thing to listen to and read what others say about the Bible and still another to read it yourself and find out what it says. There is an overwhelming number of beliefs, traditions, and sayings that Christians have taken up that simply are not contained in their holy book or are taken so far out of context that they are no longer true (at least not in application). I don’t mean to put down Christians–I am one of them; yet I have to point out that many of us in the American church do not know whether what we say is true to what God actually says or rhetoric picked up from cultural or nominal Christians.

Since the day when I declared that I would discover what it was that I believed, I have taken two complete laps through the Bible and innumerable excursions through portions of it. This is not nearly enough for me to declare myself educated or authoritative. I am a layperson through and through. Yet I can say with certainty that the Bible fulfills it’s own claims. It is useful for teaching and for rebuke. It is sharper than any two edged sword and it does divide flesh and spirit. I have been unmade and reworked on many occasions.

Scripture alone is the foundation from which the Church is built. This might sound counter to the claims of Jesus being the foundation or cornerstone but through the reading of the Bible you can discover that they are one and the same.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” ‭‭John‬ ‭1:1-5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

To the believer, wisdom is freely given to those who chase after it. To seek to spend time in the Word is to seek to spend time in His presence. The reading of the Bible is the first and primary method for spending time in His courts. By consuming its message and washing yourself in its waters, you can test any other message for its truth and origin.

I have not come to the end of the journey begun so long ago. In truth, I am closer to beginning than I’d like to admit. However, I hope that you will be able begin your own journey into discovering what you believe. I hope that you decide to spend a day in the Courts of YHWH.

The Tetragrammaton

In Christianity, believers share in the concept that there is but one true God. This belief, known as monotheism, states that not only is the God the only God, all others claiming deity are false. Either they are simply made up or they are some lesser being claiming worship that is not due them. Christians, and Jews, have identified this true God, the one above all others, as YHWH.

This unpronounceable word, often rendered Yahweh or Jehovah, helps us identify who we claim as the only true God: “He Who Is” or “He Who Brings Being into Being”. The name YHWH helps us connect the God of Moses to Jesus, both having claimed the title, “I Am”. Further, the Name begins to introduce believers to the theology of a triune god (One being with three persons) since one of its claimants (Jesus) indicates the presence of the other two when he commands his disciples to pray in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The identity of our Lord is important for every Christian to be familiar with. By using the name, YHWH, we recognize not only the deity we worship but also declare that no other is sufficient for worship. We observe that others have come and gone, having challenged the Lord with their own lordships, and still the Name Above All Names persists, lending even further credit to the identity, I Am that I Am. Finally, we establish that our God is not the creation of a first century cult but actually the God of the Jews having come to fulfill the promises he made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as well as to David, Solomon, and the Prophets.

This is worthy of praise, that our Lord should see fit to honor us with His name, providing clarity for his identity and establishing his eternal presence. In the name of YHWH, the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, give thanks that you know who your God is, worshiping with glad spirit. For today is a good day to be in the Courts of YHWH.

In The Courts of YHWH

When I was a younger man, I used to imagine what it would have been like to be in King David’s royal court. Actually, my imaginings more often put me in David’s place, King of Jerusalem, leader of Israel, God’s Holy People. The significance of position was lost on me, but one thing was clear, David spent a lot of time before his God.

Around the time I was thinking up the name for this blog, there was a band, Kutless, who covered a song called Better is One Day. They may have put their own spin on it, but this song is ancient. Kutless was singing directly from an old Hebrew text known as the Psalms. Specifically, Psalm 84:10

A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.

Often, I find that spending even a single moment is His presence is difficult. Yet, David and the son’s of rebellious Korah seemed to think it a wondrous place, one they would refuse to leave should they be given the chance. How can they, sinners all, be so enthralled with God that they should want to stay there forever in humility while all their friends partied and had a good time in the city? Scripture tells us that the Word of the Lord is sharper than any two edged sword, dividing soul and spirit, bone and marrow. Elsewhere, it tells us it is a light in the darkness, revealing things done in darkness intended to be hidden from the light.

If the word of the All Righteous Judge is humbling enough, surely his presence should be too much to bear? Isaiah said, “Woe is me for I am unmade!” when he encountered the Lord face to face. The soldiers sent to take Jesus captive fell as if knocked down when he said, “I Am he”. Moses shown with divine glory after having only seen the Lords passing, and yet, Better. Is. One. Day.

There is no shortage of men in the Bible, or throughout history, who have wished to spend just one more day in those courts. If these men, having wept at seeing that their own tainted goodness being revealed as nothing short of garbage, can still find His presence wonderful, surely they have seen more than just their demise. Surely, God is more than the All Righteous Judge. Maybe, if I just spend one more day in His courts…