True doctrine and reasons for truth make all the difference for spiritual readiness.
Because some of us will have to decide whether to make sacrifices for what we believe. Some people are making those decisions already.
And if we’re not solidly grounded in our beliefs — if we don’t know what’s true, what’s important enough to suffer for, and where the Lord tells us it’s true (so we’re sure it’s his voice speaking) — why would we sacrifice a thing for it?
Take the highly contentious issue of marriage, for example. What does Scripture really say about it? Some people say it supports same-sex marriage. Are they right or wrong? Or is it all so confused that no one really knows? Team members at the Spiritual Readiness Project are very thoroughly convinced that Scripture is not confused on this matter, and the plain reading is the true reading, regardless of others’ arguments against it. And we’ve studied those arguments. So even though it’s not popular, we’re willing to take a stand for the truth. No one could do that without knowing what they believe.
We all have to know Christian teachings, or doctrine. When the challenge comes at us, we’ll have to know it very well.
Reasons for Belief
But knowing what someone else thinks is true isn’t good enough. When we face our own tough situations, we have to know for ourselves that these truths are true. No college student can survive spiritually on his parents’ beliefs; his beliefs have to be his own. The same principle goes for every believer.
To continue the previous example, there are reasons to support man-woman marriage both in the Bible and in natural law (or common human experience). The Bible’s reasons mean nothing, however, unless we have reasons to believe the Bible is trustworthy and true.
And who would sacrifice anything for the living Lord Jesus Christ if she wasn’t so sure he was really living?
It’s one thing to repeat the Apostle’s Creed in church, with its line, “I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, … who was crucified, died, and was buried. The third day he rose from the dead.” It’s another to stake your position there when people are laughing at you for it. Those who stand their ground are the ones who are convinced in their own minds that Jesus really is alive. That conviction comes by way of knowing how we know it’s true.
It isn’t just about believers surviving spiritually, though. It’s also about our being able to speak credibly when we tell others the good news of Jesus Christ. Both discipleship (the growing and maturing life of the believer) and evangelism depend on knowing what we believe and why.