Rediscovering Christian Faith

How can I regain my childhood faith? I was brought up as a Christian but stopped believing in God a few years ago. More recently, I've been feeling as if something is drawing me back to the faith of my childhood. My fear is that this is purely a matter of sentiment and emotion and has nothing to do with verifiable truth and solid facts. I've been actively searching for God by attending church, reading the Bible, and listening to debates between atheists and believers. But I've come to the conclusion that His existence can't be proven by rational arguments. I'm ready to give Him the benefit of the doubt, but I'm afraid that isn't the same thing as really believing with my whole heart. I feel stuck and don't know what to do. Can you help?

Given the brevity of your message, it’s difficult to know exactly how to respond. On the whole, we get the impression (though this may come as a surprise to you) that you’re in a fairly positive place as regards the health and progress of your spiritual pilgrimage. Why do we say this? Because you’re obviously in the process of making your faith your own. That’s a good thing.

It’s wonderful to be raised by Christian parents in a Christian home, but it doesn’t necessarily make you a Christian. Before that can happen, you have to experience the grace of God for yourself on a deeply personal basis. Debates, “proofs,” and rational arguments for God’s existence may help you get moving in the right direction, but they can’t take you all the way there. That’s because God is a Person, not a set of facts to be established by logical discussion.

For some of us, a life-changing encounter with Christ happens in a flash, as it did for Paul on the Damascus Road. For others, it comes gradually and only after a long and difficult uphill journey. We have a feeling that you fit into this second category. We realize that this can be painful and frustrating. But we also believe that it’s worth the struggle if at the end of the road you’re able to say, “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that day” (II Timothy 1:12).

Our advice to you, then, is “to keep on keeping on.” Persevere in the path you’ve begun to follow. Read the Bible, attend church, listen to lectures and debates. If possible, find a pastor, an elder, or an older and wiser Christian friend with whom you can discuss your doubts and difficulties on a personal level. Most importantly, lay your situation before the Lord in prayer, opening your heart to Him as honestly and straightforwardly as you can. And when you feel as if you’re only “giving God the benefit of the doubt,” or that you simply can’t believe no matter how hard you try, remember the words of the man who brought his epileptic son to Jesus for healing: “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). Christ honored that tortured cry of faith, small and weak as it was. We believe He’ll do the same for you.

If you think it might be helpful to discuss your questions at greater length with a member of our team, call us. We have a staff of pastoral counselors who would love to speak with you over the phone.

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What Every Christian Ought to Know Day by Day: Essential Truths for Growing Your Faith

The Faith: What Christians Believe, Why They Believe It, and Why It Matters

Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know

Mere Christianity

I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist

The Case for Faith

The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus

The Reason for God: Belief in and Age of Skepticism

Christian Research Institute

Insight for Living

Becoming a Christian

Christian Worldview

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