Links Daily Devotional

Anti-Intuitive Belief

“He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.” (Acts 10:41, NIV)

Maybe because they have learned it from one another, nearly every golf teacher who has ever lived has found himself telling a struggling golfer something like this: “It’s not going to feel right at first. But trust me, it’ll make all the difference.”

You’ve heard it in little axioms, too:

“Swing down to hit it up.”

“Swing from left to right to move it from right to left.”

In any number of ways, golf is an anti-intuitive game. After all, have you seen how hard tour professionals swing to cause a bunker shot to go only a few yards?

On the surface, faith in Jesus as Savior and living Lord may seem anti-intuitive, outside the realm of human reason. In a way, it is.I have friends who have trouble believing in Jesus for the very same reason. I suppose it’s true that our faith is sometimes anti-intuitive, too. We’re asking people to believe in something they “cannot see,” to accept and follow teachings from two millennia ago. That can be a long reach for people raised in the materialistic understandings of the Western world.

What is required is not so far-fetched, however, and it serves our faith—and the inquiries of our friends—to remember two essential aspects of how we have come to the belief that is in us.

First, our faith is not founded on stories, but accounts. That is, we’re not clinging to fictions or myths. What we read on the pages of our Bibles was not devised, but revealed and recorded. In this way, it is no different than the histories upon which people of our culture base all their understandings of the past. It is also why we encounter passages like Peter’s words in Acts 10, where the apostle told his Gentile hearers that they had seen and heard and eaten with the risen Jesus. This was not a mystical encounter but a material one. Jesus had in his body risen from the dead. Can an unbeliever choose to discount such an account as unreliable? Sure. But such a dismissal stems from the person’s heart, not the nature of the narrative.

Second, as Linda Ballard unpacked for us last week, the invisibility of something does not negate its existence. Though we cannot see the wind (or the wind of the Spirit), we can see its effects. When a believer testifies to having been changed by Christ, they are speaking to something which no one else can—their own inner transformation. And yet, we also are quite aware of changes in others and can testify that we too see the effects of “the wind” on their lives; they are altogether different from how we once knew them. The change is undeniable—unless, of course, you do not want to believe.

On the surface, then, faith in Jesus as Savior and living Lord may seem anti-intuitive, outside the realm of human reason. In a way, it is. But in at least two ways we have seen today, our faith is quite reasonable. In fact, you might say it’s like Jim Furyk’s golf swing. It’s hard to explain how it all works together, but it sure is good at the point of impact.

Jeff Hopper
June 12, 2017
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