I believe that many Christians go along with and repeat miracle stories too easily–without adequate evidence and without being fully convinced. They sometimes even use the phrase “Fake it till you make it,” to justify their stance. But is that faith, or is it presumption?
I admire Thomas. I think Thomas was searching for a reason to believe. He was wanting faith, not presumption that was based on his friends’ and fellow disciple’s belief. So, Thomas insisted on evidence. And wow! Jesus gave him the evidence by showing Thomas His wounds and inviting Thomas to touch them. When Thomas experienced the evidence, doubts vanished and Thomas cried out to Jesus, “My Lord and My God!”
The Holy Spirit brought me to unbelief so that I could believe. I thought I was a Christian and on my way to Heaven because I was a faithful, church-attending Presbyterian. Then one day in church this question came to my mind: “If you were born a Hindu, what would you be today?” After thinking about it, I realized that if I had been raised with Hinduism as the only religion I was exposed to, I’d be a Hindu.
Suddenly another question came to my mind: “Why do you think you’re a Christian?” That made me realize that the only reason I thought I was a Christian was because of my upbringing. I was exercising presumption, not faith. As I thought about it, I realized that I didn’t personally believe in Jesus, the Bible, or Christian doctrine, but just assumed I did. However, I realized that I did truly believe in some sort of Creator. At that point I rejected Christianity and asked the Creator to show me the truth.
Two years later I wandered into a Spirit-led Christian meeting on my college campus and had a life-changing encounter with the living Jesus and I’ve never been the same. When I tell people about that encounter it still brings me to tears. Now I’m convinced Jesus is real, not because of what other people say, but because He continually reveals Himself and amazingly demonstrates His reality directly to me.
John tells us to “Test the spirits whether they are from God for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 1:4.) Exercising caution and investigating what people say is wise. The Bereans in the book of Acts, even checked out what Paul said with Scripture before they accepted it. Christians would be healthier spiritually if we all acted like the Bereans.
Christ-followers can do much more than “only imagine” God’s presence. We can experience it throughout the day!