It is a lie. There are all kinds of variations on it. I'm talking about the one that goes, "Give up. it's hopeless." It lurks just beneath the surface, right at the edge of your consciousness. Perhaps you've lost someone- a friend, a spouse, or a family member. Or perhaps you've lost something- a job, or a dream.
The lie drives you to the precipice of despair. Hopelessness. It whispers to you: "This is it; the end of the line. It's all pointless." Every single day, people buy into this lie. The proof is in the headlines. A kid gets a gun and kills kids. A celebrity takes her own life.
Have you ever been there? I have. I've reached that point where I've questioned whether there was any point to going any further. I convinced myself that it was me, but I could hear the lie beckoning. Give up. It's hopeless.
I was living in Birmingham, Michigan. Early one morning in 1992, I reached the end of my rope, which was quickly becoming a noose. Although, I prayed the Christian's Prayer as a young child, I quickly fell away from my faith. Everything I had hoped for, everything I had planned for my life had amounted to nothing. I was faced with the net result of a lifetime of bad choices and a life that was lived only for me.
I heard the lie. It was uttered by the liar of liars. He said, "Give up." For just a second, I considered it. Perhaps the lie was true. Maybe the world would be a better place without me.
At that moment something happened. It was as if my soul had become a battleground. You might call it spiritual warfare. Whatever it was, I knew that I was staring at Evil, face to face. And yet, Good was with me.
In that split second, I chose Good. I prayed, " Father, I have made a complete mess of my life. I'm sorry. I give it all back to you. Please take control of my life. I surrender it all to You."
Immediately, a sense of peace enveloped me. And in a way, it was as if my life had begun at that moment. It was like starting over. God picked me up, dusted me off, and put me back on His path.
No matter what has happened to you, or will happen to you, God is there. No matter what you've done or will do, He loves you. He proved it two thousand years ago. In return, He wants one simple thing from you. He wants faith.
You might view it as blind faith. I prefer to look at the evidentiary record of my life and conclude that it's true. He has provided for me, He has protected me, and He has preserved me. He will do the same for you.
Reach out to Him in faith. He will not fail you. Certainly, His timing may be different than yours. But the end result will delight you. In our world of murder, suicide and hopelessness, He is a beacon, just waiting to guide you home.
You don't have to take my word for it. Read His Words- the Holy Bible. You will find story after story that describe insurmountable odds and apparently hopeless situations. His people always prevail. We do it because He is real. And He is always there for us.
Don't buy into the lie. You have a choice. Accept His truth.
An old joke defines a "split second" as the time it takes for the light to turn green and the angry driver behind you to honk.
Let me offer another definition for the term. A split second is that flash of time when you have a choice between right and wrong.
Someone offends you. In a split second, you can decide to fight back, or you can decide to let it go. Someone needs a helping hand. In a split second, you decide whether or not to help. A co-worker complains about another co-worker. In a split second you decide to participate, piling on criticism. Or, you decide to stay out of it, or perhaps even defend the person. And the classic: a driver in front of you, on her cell phone, oblivious, cuts within three feet of your front bumper, no signal, no nothing. You decide to become enraged and use the universal hand gesture for bad drivers. Or, you decide to let it roll off.
We've convinced ourselves that we "have a temper." We believe that we are addicted to alcohol, drugs, lust, spending or anger. We can't help it. It's simply the way we are.
The truth is that we have the power to choose. Every day, we make hundreds of decisions. There may only be a split second between the time the options are presented and the decision is made. But it's made.
We can choose for good, or we can choose for evil. We can choose for God, or we can choose for ouselves. We can follow His instruction and His will for us. Or we can ignore them. But from the moment of our birth, He gave us the power to choose. You might think that it's impossible to choose good every time; after all we are only human. That's why we have the example of Jesus. He was a man, but chose God's will every time.
So, the next time you are faced with a decision in traffic, at work, at home or anywhere else, remember that you do have a choice. It may seem that you only have a split second to make a decision, but that is illusory. In reality, you can stop, evaluate and then decide.
Decide for good.
If you accept the premise that Jesus was God in human form, then his words become very important. I've always found it interesting that so few of them have been published. Strictly speaking, Jesus' words are limited to the gospel accounts.
I suppose there are all kinds of potential reasons, but I believe it's because God had been speaking to man for thousands of years. Through direct communication and Mosaic law, God told us what He wanted us to do. Of course, we didn't do it. It's painfully evident throughout the Old Testament. We disobey God.
Jesus was God's final solution to this problem. Even though man disobeyed, God Himself provided dispensation. His name is Jesus. Jesus didn't need to restate the law. He interpreted it. He told us what we really needed to know.
There were all kinds of commandments in Jesus' day. You're familiar with the "Ten Commandments," but you may be less familiar with the other laws, such as those described in Leviticus. There were hundreds and hundreds of them.
Jesus boiled it all down for a confused and misled people.
Which law did Jesus say was the most important? Love God. The second most important was to love man. In Matthew, he goes on to elaborate that we are to treat other people the way that we want to be treated.
It's easier said than done. But if our goal is to store up treasure in Heaven, then we must do what Jesus tells us to do. It goes against our human nature. It goes against every instinct I have in this world. My instinct is to take care of me and mine. I don't have a lot left for others after that.
And yet, Jesus tells me to do it. Following Christ means following his instruction.
Do unto others. Not "before they do it to you." Not "it's payback time." Not "but they did it first."
Simply, do unto others what you want them to do to you.
My dad died at 57 of a heart attack. I turned 57 this year. I suppose this could indeed be my last year on earth. Or perhaps I might have another 30 left.
It's a sobering thought. Sooner or later, we'll all depart this life. If we don't believe in an afterlife, it's just depressing. The clock is ticking and we are all running out of time. However, if we believe that there is something after this life, it gets more complicated. We have to figure out what "afterlife" means- is there a heaven? If so, what, if anything, do we have to do to get there? And finally, if there is a heaven, is there also hell?
In my book, "The Reasonable Person- Due Process of Law, Logic, and Faith," I discuss the reasoning process I went through to decide that heaven and hell are real. I also discuss the impossibility of earning one's way into heaven.
I'll go out on a limb here, but logic aside, I think that most people believe the same thing. This belief is the basis for most of the world's religions. It just feels right. If humankind did not believe in an afterlife, then it would quickly devolve into a dog-eat-dog mentality- each of us taking for ourselves without considering others. Our history has certainly had plenty of examples of this; however, these people are sociopathic anomalies and not the norm.
But that's not the purpose of this blog post.
Instead, I would like to speak to Christians about eternal judgment.
It's not something most of us think about. After all, we are forgiven, thanks to Jesus. We've received a free one-way ticket to heaven. However, "forgiven" is not the same thing as "exempt from prosecution." The bible tells us repeatedly that there everyone will be judged. In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul explains it eloquently- Christians do what we do because one day, we will all be judged by Christ for our actions.
He's not going to send us to hell. But if we've acted badly during our earthly lives, I would imagine He will not be too happy about it. This is why, even though we are heaven-bound, we continue to fight the good fight, just as Paul did.
When I look at eternity and compare it to the few years I have left on this earth, the decision should be easy. I should decide to act the way that Jesus taught me to act. But I don't.
It's sort of like dealing with a small child's fears. You can explain that her fears our groundless. Unless she makes a decision to overcome the fear, she will remain controlled by it. Eventually, over time, she will come to realize that you were right.
In the grand scheme of eternity, anything that can happen to you on earth during this life, is completely unimportant. At the same time, the decisions you make- how you act; how you treat others, are all "evidence" in terms of your eternal judgment.
When you face your Maker in heavenly court, what do you want the evidence to show? That you acted selfishly, fearfully, greedily, dishonestly . . . evilly? Or, do you want the evidence to show that you acted as He would have had you act? Certainly, for many of us, like me, the evidence has substantially accumulated. This could either discourage you or inspire you.
I'm going to choose to let it inspire me. For whatever remaining years, or minutes, I have left, I'm going to live as best as I can, in the way that He intended for me to live. When He evaluates my record, He will see plenty of mistakes. But I'm sure He will also consider the extenuating circumstances- I simply didn't always know what I was doing.
But today, going forward, I do. And I want Him to look at this portion of the record and say, "Well done."
Let's face it. Visitors to your church are a pain. They upset the dynamics of your routine. They don't know the drill. Someone has to explain it to them- where the kid's classes are, etc. They didn't bring a Bible and when the plate is passed, they just look at it vacantly and pass it on.
Visitors just slow things down and get in the way. Precious time that could be spent with our friends is wasted on people who probably visit once or twice, only to be never heard from again.
We grew up going to church with our families; they didn't. We went to college; they didn't. We're good Christians . . . it's obvious, isn't it? All you have to do is look at that glow in our smiles. As to these visitors, well, it's just as obvious that their lives have been . . . let's just leave it at "less than optimized."
We can save everyone a lot of time and trouble if we nip this in the bud at the outset. The bottom line is that the best way to deal with church visitors is to make them feel as unwelcome as possible. The following are some tips to help you do just that:
1. Ignore them. This is the easiest and perhaps the most important tool in our arsenal. Don't make eye contact. Instead, stick closely with your friends. Eventually, they'll go away.
2. Hire church staff who will ignore them. Church staff are paid to care for the needs of the flock, after all. We aren't paying them to take care of outsiders.
3. Create as much bureacracy as possible. Make sure that your senior pastor understands his/her role as a sort of CEO. He or she has built this church into what it is today. They can't be bothered with the mundane spiritual needs of visitors or newbies, or spiritually needy people.
Granted, gospel accounts tell us that Jesus made himself available to pretty much anyone who had a need. But then again, Jesus didn't have email, a website, a blog or a sermon to write every week.
4. If you have smaller group activities, make sure that it is impossible for visitors to participate. The best way to do this is to have an annual enrollment period and make sure that you do not, under any circumstances, provide any information to visitors as to these groups. You don't want to give them any ideas.
For that matter, make sure that the bureacracy that you create makes it impossible for visitors to particpate in anything. We certainly don't want them to get any ideas that they can pitch in- teach a class, say a prayer, help with the collection plate, etc. If they participate, they might actually feel like they are part of your group; like they have some ownership in it. It will make them feel almost as if they belong. And this is a real problem.
5. Never, ever, admit anything. The happier and more perfect your lives seem, the more that these visitors will realize that they don't fit in. If you ever admit sin or troubles, they might somehow identify with you and decide to stick around.
6. Always ask yourself: "What wouldn't Jesus do?" Then do it. If they actually see Jesus in your church, you'll never be able to get rid of them.
We can all save everyone a lot of wasted time and energy if we simply lay the cards out on the table. We've worked way too hard to build our church into what it is today. The last thing we need is someone coming in that might cause us to change the way we think, or the things we do.
And after all, challenging the religious status quo causes nothing but trouble for everyone.
It's a gift. God gave each of us the most precious gift imaginable. He came to this place, Earth, and lived among us. He gave us the gift of life forever, with Him.
Of course, if you don't believe in Him, this is a problem. Or, if you've never really thought about what happens after you die, the gift may not seem that important. Or, if you believe that you are a "pretty good person," you may not think that you even need the gift.
So, to understand the true meaning of Christmas, you have to begin with two premises. The first premise is that God exists. The second is that He created the universe and everything in it. If you don't accept either of these premises, then the logic used in the rest of this blog won't be valid.
We can argue all day long about these premises. However, my own view is that if you don't subscribe to them, then life quickly becomes meaningless. If there is no God, then there must be no afterlife. Therefore, this life is it. And if this life is all that there is, then there's not point in doing anything other than getting what you can, and avoiding as much pain and trouble as possible. It's kind of depressing, isn't it?
I believe in God because I see evidence of him all around me, in His creation. I believe in God because there are just too many things that have happened in my life to be attributed to random chance and coincidence.
At the same time, if I believe in God but believe that being a "pretty good person" is good enough to get me into Heaven, I've overlooked an important point.
I believe I'm a "pretty good person." However, I also believe that being a pretty good person isn't good enough. A cosmic "scale of justice" may sound pretty good to the human sense of fairness, but it overlooks an important point. God gave us everything we have. Directly or indirectly, He gave us life; therefore, everything we have is derived from this gift. Certainly, we can all make the most of this gift, but we all started out owing Him. As a result, even if we live perfect lives, in complete accordance with His will, we break even. And the truth is that none of live perfect lives
There is a third premise that is a bit more difficult to accept. The premise is that a perfect God requires perfection from His creatures. It seems harsh. Why doesn't God simply forgive us for our sins?
Asking God to forgive our sins is essentially asking Him to overlook them. My own view is that a perfect God cannot tolerate sin. Think about it this way. A brand new car on the lot isn't brand new after it has been driven. It may look new. But there are little signs of decay- a small chip in the underbelly from a stone; a grain of sand has microscopically marred the paint. The minute a small imperfection occurs, the car is not longer a brand new, perfect car. If God were to tolerate sin, then He is no longer perfect. And if God is flawed, then all bets are off.
This leaves mankind with a very difficult problem Imperfect humans seek a perfect God. After that first sin, we become imperfect. Without some external intervention, we can never commune with Him. It becomes impossible for any imperfect human to have a relationship with a perfect God.
Mankind tried for thousands of years to earn its way to God. Some religions are still trying- they make offerings to a plethora of gods; they do all kinds of things in an effort to be good enough for these gods; most likely, out of fear. I've already described the problem with this. We simply can't do enough to perfect ourselves with a perfect god.
Instead, He reached out to us. He became a human. His name was Jesus. He lived among us. He taught us about Him. Finally, we killed him. It was crucifixion, preceded by humliation, beatings, and floggings. It was perhaps the most heinous and cruel way to kill someone ever devised by man.
It balanced the scales. If God, who gave us everything, paid the price for our sins Himself, then it's over. His payment is enough to take care of everything that we have ever done, and will ever do.
Is there anyone for whom you would die? Perhaps it's your spouse or children. Or, perhaps you might even die for a stranger. It may seem far-fetched, but it happens every day. Soldiers who defend this country do it every day. So do police officers, firefighters and other public servants.
It's an incredible gift. It's what Christmas means. When we humans give each other gifts at Christmas, we are emulating the biggest gift ever given. In our own little ways, we give to one another in celebration of His gift.
Think about how you feel when you give a gift. You take great joy in the look of delight on the recipent's face when they open it. If you have kids, there is almost nothing like seeing their surprise and excitement when they open their presents.
Think about how God feels when we finally open His gift to us. Perhaps we've struggled for much of our lives. And then something happens; perhaps an evangelical outreach or chance encounter. Or it might happen after years of bible study. But one day, it all comes together for us. We understand. We believe. Like a child at Christmas, we open the Gift of all gifts, the Gift of Jesus Christ.
We receive the gift through simple faith. We believe that Jesus was who He said He was. We accept the gift and commit ourselves to following in His footsteps, out of gratitude, rather than fear. We do it through a simple prayer.
A gift with no strings can be difficult to accept for humans who choose to believe in "cosmic scales." We think, "there must be more to it. Surely, I have to do something." We scratch our heads. We rationalize. "How can my eternal destiny hinge upon a simple prayer of faith?"
The answer is simple. God loves you. He's given you an incredible gift.
All you have to do is open it.
In "The Reasonable Person," I devote a fair amount of space to the concept of faith. The subject intrigues me because I think a lot of people misunderstand it.
Popular culture would have you believe that faith in something unseen is irrational. Anyone who relies on a God they can't see is essentially weak. The argument presents Christians as spiritual descendant of people who worshipped ancient gods and goddesses because they couldn't understand life any other way.
But here's the thing. I can see God. No, I haven't lost my mind. I see Him all around me. The evidence of His creation alone is overwhelming. Call me a simpleton, but I cannot imagine that all of this was a cosmic accident, the result of some primordial burp. Pick any living thing. Pick any function of any living thing. Try to replicate it. We can't. As simple as we would like to make life, it is miraculously complex- a system that by its very nature cries out "Creator."
Here's the other thing. My life is evidence of God. I know what I was like before I found Him and I know what I'm like now. People change all of the time- they learn from their mistakes and so on. But most of us tend to drift back into our old bad habits. Aradical sustained change in one's life is strong evidence of an external influence.
Here's the last thing. Trust me. I see, in big and little ways, God surrounding me. It might be a random passage I stumble across in the bible. It might be a random act of kindness by a stranger. It might be an answered prayer. When I add it all up, over the course of my life, it all points to Him. It's extremely difficult to describe this to someone who hasn't experienced it. But it's real.
The only way to find out for yourself is to take that leap of faith. If you've reached that point in your life that many of us have, you realize that it's not working. You've tried to do it on your own. You've struggled with it. You've tried to bulldoze your way through it. It's just not working.
The bible tells us that God has provided a way out for all of us. His name is Jesus. He was our teacher, but he was also our payment. His death paid for our sins. His resurrection is proof that the payment is our one-way ticket to Heaven.
Stop right now and think about your life. If you feel so inclined, tell God you are sorry. Thank Him for Jesus. Accept the payment.
And get ready for the most incredible, fulfilling life you could have ever imagined for yourself.
The good news is that we live in a country where we are free to worship God. Despite our collective amnesia, America was at least in part a response to a country (England) that tried to impose it's religious values on its people. The founders were mostly Christians who believed that people should be allowed to worship God in their own individual ways.
One of Jesus' recurring themes was that the religious establishment of the day had lost its way. It had substituted rules and rituals for a true relationship with God. It had created a "form over substance" religion which had ironically created a gulf between man and God.
The bad news is that organized Christianity, if carried to the extreme, can do the same thing. If we focus on church attendance instead of humbling ourselves before God, we miss the point. If we lose ourselves in church activities, we can miss the point.
Jesus told us that it's all about two things- loving God and loving man.
Most of us feel pretty good, after a good sermon. We leave church uplifted. Our weekly church attendance obligation is fulfilled. When we tithe or put something into the plate, we believe we are giving money for God's work; we have given back to God. If we serve as a deacon or teacher, we may feel particularly righteous. After all, we've done what God wants us to do, haven't we?
This is because no one is righteous. We've all sinned and more than once. In fact, our situation is so abysmal that we can never earn our way into Heaven. We owe God everything. Whatever we have- beginning with our lives, and everything good after that, we own to God.
We need a savior.
We must never forget that.
God gave up his only human Son, to provide us with a way out. Jesus makes us righteous. Anything else is self-righteous.
So, if our church service is done out of a sense of gratitude,then great. But if it's done to make us feel good about ourselves, then we are actually kidding ourselves. Certainly, church activities are arguably better than, say, stealing from someone. Then again, we've probably all hear of or witnessed activities done in the name of the church that would make stealing pale in comparison.
What really matters is whether or not we are doing it for Him. That can be a difficult question. We can get so caught up in the activities of church that we lose sight of the object of our worship- our heavenly Father.
There is a simple test you can use to determine whether you are acting rightously or self-righteously. Ask yourself, "Am I doing this for Him, or am I doing it for me?"
If it is self-rightous, then as Jesus put it, you have your reward. If it is truly righteous, then you have an incredible reward awaiting you in Heaven.
I'm in the middle of one of those "wilderness" periods. I've been there for a few weeks now. You probably know what I'm talking about- it seems as if God has gone silent on me. My prayers are hollow; my bible study is dry. I'm not connected to my Father.
I would imagine you have been through your own time in the wilderness. When it happens, our question is "God, why have you left me?"
He hasn't left me. I know it because He promised that he wouldn't. (Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5; John 14:18). I know it empirically. My life proves it to me. I can look back on the events of my life and know that no matter what was going on, whether I realized it or not, He was there with me. He protected me. He made it all work out.
Why am I in the wilderness? Perhaps it's because He is using this period to teach me. Or, perhaps there is unconfessed sin in my life. Either way, unless I understand it, it becomes difficult for me to move forward. I'm "stuck" more or less, spiritually.
What do you do when you are in the wilderness?
1. Remain in faith. Reflect back on all of the times in your life when He was there for you.
2. Give thanks. Count your blessings. For most of us, this isn't difficult. We've all got so much to be thankful for; so much more than we deserve. I shudder to think about what my life would be like (and my afterlife), if I got what I deserved to get.
3. Confess sin. This one is harder for most of us. We can't always be objective. Instead, we rationalize. "It's not that big of a deal." Or, "I'm justified in what I did." You know what I'm talking about. Until we hit that fork in the road, the one where we realize that our lives simply aren't working, it's hard to admit that we have failed.
Don't fall for this trap. God wants to be in perfect communion with you. Satan prefers there to be as much distance as possible between you and God. He (or his minions) will help you to rationalize your behavior, or alternatively, trick you into believing that what you've done is so horrendous that God will no longer have anything to do with you.
It's a lie.
Get on your knees and ask God to help you understand where you made the wrong turn. In my experience, it often comes to me before I even hit the floor. I may have wracked my brain for weeks, trying to figure out what I've done that was counter to His will. But when I simply surrender and ask Him to show me, He does it instantaneously.
Once you understand your sin, then simply confess it. Tell God you are sorry. And then rely on Him to help you eliminate it from your life. You can't do it on your own. You need a savior. Which, by the way, is exactly what you have in Jesus.
No matter what you've done, it's already taken care of. Jesus paid the tab.
But here's the thing. Never, ever take this fact lightly. Jesus gave His life to pay for that sin. If you keep doing it, it's like the petulant child who keeps going into Mommy's purse. The money may never run out, but the child will never learn what the child needs, in order to grow and thrive as a human. God's forgiveness is an incredible gift. Without it, every single one of us is doomed.
God loves you. He always has and always will. He wants only what is best for you. You can't earn His love- it's already there. Stay in your faith walk, read His Words (another incredible gift), and do what He wants you to do.
I think I just spotted light at the end of the tunnel (er, wilderness).
Do you remember when you first made the decision to trust in Jesus?
Mea culpa: in "The Reasonable Person- Due Process of Law, Logic, and Faith," I use the term "Christianspeak" to describe that unique language by Christians and for Christians. However, until you've been through it, the terminology isn't really relevant to you. It simply doesn't make a lot of sense.
"Trusting in Jesus" means that you trust in the gospel. More Christianspeak. The "gospel" (literally, the "good news") refers to the idea that in Jesus, God assumed human form. That alone is a pretty fantastic concept.
However, through Jesus, God did something even more incredible. Following the essential principle of Mosaic law, the blood sacrifice, God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for the sins of all of mankind- past, present and future.
I've heard it said that one drop of God's blood is worth an infinite number of human lives.
God became human and lived and worked among us. He healed us. He taught us how to live. And ultimately, he died, in order to bridge the chasm that mankind had created between itself and God, beginning with Adam. Jesus died for us.
God is perfect and we aren't. Despite the fact that God has given us everything we have, we want to go our own way. Like petulant children, we don't understand this basic concept. God is God; we are His creation. Something had to be done, in order to reconcile man and God forever. God did it Himself, through the sacrifice of his only son. That sacrifice assured eternal salvation for those of us who choose to accept it, through faith in Jesus' work on the cross.
When we "trust in Jesus," we accept the gospel and we decide to follow Jesus. Following Jesus means to live, as best as we can, like He did. It means to follow God.
Now, back to the question posited at the beginning of this blog post. Do you remember when you first made the decision to trust in Jesus? How old were you? What day was it? Was it winter or summer? Were you inside or outside? Were you in church? Or, were you at home, alone? Try to remember as much of the detail of that day as you can.
Think about what was going on in your mind. Perhaps you were at the end of your rope- feeling hopeless and with no way out. You made the decision because something inside you knew that Jesus was the only way out. Or, maybe you had studied the Bible for years and finally came to the conclusion that it was truth. You may have made the decision as a result of an evangelical message or invitation- a preacher or outreach minister described God's method of salvation to you and it simply resonated.
Whateve the circumstances, you made a decision. You decided that you needed salvation and you decided that Jesus was that salvation. You likely didn't have a lot of information upon which to base that decision. You stepped out in faith. It was a simple, child-like faith; a child who trusts daddy and does what daddy tells her to do, simply because he is "daddy."
Looking back now, that simple faith seems so incredible and yet powerful. You look at the result of that decision and the course your life has taken since. Chances are, you've had plenty of ups and downs. You may have begun your Christian journey in a very strong way, but now have drifted from that initial faith.
In Luke's gospel, a man tells Jesus that he will follow him, but he first needs to say good-bye to his family (Luke 9:61). Jesus replies that anyone who plows a field but keeps looking back is of no use to God.
Simply, God wants us to press on toward the goal.
Here's the moral to the story. Many of us take that first leap of faith. We trust in Jesus for our salvation. At that moment, we have complete faith in God.
But then, something happens. We let the living of our lives diminish our faith. We qualify our faith, based upon the events of our lives. We evaluate our future, based upon our past. We look back. This causes us to doubt. The bible is full of examples of what happens to people when they doubt. And it is full of examples of happens when we trust.
As a Christian, the evidence of my life is the most powerful evidence for why I believe what I believe. I trust in Jesus because he has proven to me, time and time again, that He can be trusted.
So the next time you are tempted to look back, look back instead to the moment you were saved. Think about the faith you had in Jesus at that moment.
There's reason you cannot have that same faith right now.