Q’s from our “All Day AMA” [Ask Me Anything Panel]
Hey there! Here’s some of the questions from the AMA box that we didn’t get to the other week! Happy reading. Always feel free to ask us questions via our contact page.
Q: Does God give us free will? If so, how does that relate to us considering that He has a plan for our lives?
Yes it is true that every person has been given a free will. We are free to make decisions for our life and free to choose if we want t have any kind of relationship with our God. This was a fundamental part of the way we were created… For love to exist, free will had to be in the picture!
God desires that all of us would come to know Him and not live our lives a part from Him. He is the fullest expression of love and that love was always designed to be given away. You and I get to receive that love but only if we really desire to and choose to. God is not interested in having an arranged marriage with us or in forcing Himself upon us. He has revealed Himself and His nature and we get to choose whether or not we want to have that relationship with Him.
God has plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11) BUT we must partner with God in order for these plans to work out. Romans 8:28 also says, "God works all things for the good of those who love Him who have been called according to His purpose." There is always a partnership on our behalf with these plans, plans need our co-operation to come to fulfillment. We can choose to head in God’s direction for our life or to pull away and go our own way. Both have different paths that lead out from those choices.
Q: Does it make me ‘unchristian’ if I can’t feel God’s presence?
We can’t trust our feelings to lead us into what is true. Feelings are a great tool that we have and they definitely play a part in relationships. But as we know from romantic relationships, a wife might wake up one day and not feel totally into spending all day with her husband and may feel like she needs some time to herself. Just because she feels like that does not mean she doesn’t love her husband or doesn’t want to be with him any longer. Chances are she just needs some time to herself or she may be tired and not feel like being around anyone on that day. There are lots of things that can affect how and what we feel. It’s why we should never base our relationship with God on purely feelings. Yes God allows us to feel His presence in many different ways. You can feel His presence sitting on a mountain as the wind catches your hair, you can feel His warmth in your heart as you focus on Him, or you can feel His Spirit on the inside of you in a powerful way. These are all great things that ALL of us have access to. But you can also be in God’s presence and not feel anything and we experience times like this just like any relationship. Sometimes it might be a long time too. But the truth is He promises never to leave you or forsake you and He demonstrates that He is as close to us as the air that we breathe (Deuteronomy 31:6; Matthew 6:9). We are not in any way ‘unchristian’ if for some reason we’re not feeling God’s presence. Most of the time we need to remember what is true of our God and let our feelings catch up.
Q: Why does God only choose certain people to talk to?
God desires to communicate with all of us. He communicates in many different ways through His still small voice, through impressions, through other people, through circumstances, through dreams – you name it… our Creator God has numerous ways that He communicates with us. Most of the time the catch is we don’t know how to hear what He’s saying and we’re typically not aware of what to look for. Whether that’s deciphering through which voice is His voice, or second guessing whether what we were thinking was just coincidence or not, talking with God is something that takes practice on our behalf.
The biggest block to hearing His voice would be the fact that most people today don’t want to open their bible. There are so many more ‘interesting’ and ‘engaging’ things to do with our time. Our phones and devices have so much entertainment and social networking at our finger tips it’s hard to give an old book our attention. But if you want to communicate with the God of the universe and the God of the bible – this is the place to start. I’ve heard it said trying to talk to God when your bible is closed is like trying to text someone with your phone off. We know who our God is; we know what He has said and what He’s saying by knowing Him through His word. He could be speaking to us today but if we have no grid from who He has revealed himself to be, we won’t realise it. Kind of like if you don’t learn German, you can be around people speaking German but you have no idea what they’re actually saying. Once you open the phrase book and start learning, you pick up on things. Two things I would suggest. Open your bible – and read about Jesus. Get to know what He’s like and what matters to Him. Secondly keep talking to God, keep giving Him opportunities to talk and don’t get frustrated, discouraged or give up just because after a few attempts it seems like there’s nothing as yet. Be patient and persistent – after all this is the God of the universe we’re talking about – He’s worth the effort.
Q: What about doing drugs?
I’ve never met anyone on drugs who is there because they think it’s the best option for their life. Most people I encounter are using the drugs to escape or find temporary relief from the pain or hurt or confusion they’re experiencing on the inside. It doesn’t make them in anyway weak or bad people for doing so – usually they have just gotten themselves mixed up along the way. Drugs don’t bring us life – nor do they lead us to life. God asks us to stay away from anything that doesn’t lead us to life and to our unconditional good. Throughout the bible God encourages us to be sober minded and to remain sober – not allowing ourselves to be so affected by substances such as drugs and alcohol. When we lose control of ourselves we become under the influence of something else other than our natural mind and in the case of drugs that something else is usually harmful to us. God designed us in His image and He called our bodies the temples of His Spirit. We were made to operate in a certain way and drugs damages, inhibits and messes with these things.
Q: Is there really a devil?
Unfortunately yes there is. You just have to look at suicide to see if there is a devil at work in our world or not. Getting to the point where you are convinced there is no better option than to end your life and there’s no hope for you is the biggest lie. The devil is referred to as the father of lies (John 8:44), and the bible describes that he comes to steal and kill and destroy (John 10:10). If there is anything in your life under the influence of a lie, anything that is stealing, killing or destroying you mentally, emotionally, spiritually or in your circumstances – the devil is functioning.
You might say well those things are just life it doesn’t mean there is some force behind it – yes they are just life – but they didn’t come from nowhere. You don’t just wake up one day and think it’s a good day to harm people in a horrible way. That comes from somewhere… from an influence. Take the pornography industry for instance. For us to think it’s a good idea to look at and derive pleasure from images and videos of people who are in most cases forced to do thing against their will or sold as slaves to this industry – and that those very people could be our sister or our mum and we call this normal in society? Unfortunately the influence of the devil is so subtle it’s disregarded.
Q: Tell me more about heaven?
Heaven is how things were meant to be. You and me in relationship with our God and living in His Kingdom… in His domain just as it was always intended. There’s no evil, no sin, no pain and no death in heaven – these things are not of His world or nature and therefore don’t exist where He is. Heaven is a place where we will live forever- a place described as paradise (Luke 23:43), as a better country (Hebrews 11:10). There are other descriptions in the bible that reveal that in heaven, streets are paved with gold and walls are made with precious jewels (Revelation 21). We get a picture that things will be simply amazing and unlike anything we can truly imagine. In heaven we’ll know each differently because all the imperfections of this life will be removed. Here on earth our sin causes us to cover ourselves physically, emotionally and spiritually too. But when all sin is finally lifted from us, we are totally free to be ourselves with no shame, no pain, no embarrassment, and no covering up. Relationships will be at their fullest potential and the joy and love experienced will be immeasurable. Jesus made a way for all of us to belong and live in heaven for eternity if we choose Him in this life. It’s so sad that so many reject Him without knowing what they are ultimately rejecting.
Q: Why do young people die?
Death for all of us is a result of humanity’s choice to reject God. It began at Adam and Eve but it hasn’t stopped to this day. Death entered the world because of that choice to ‘sin’ (Genesis 2) where humanity chose a standard that was not God’s and opposed God’s. The bible says that that sin we chose back then and that we continue to choose today leads to death (Romans 6:23). It affects our whole beings and leaves things not as they were ever designed to be. And so whether you are young or if you’re old the reality of death and suffering is still something we all live under. This reality will be re-written in heaven where we will not perish but have an eternal life.