I am very familiar with the question "Why?"
In case you didn't know, I have four children, ages practically-seven, five, four, and one. They love to ask that question.
Particularly, the Beast enjoys asking "Why?" as many times as possible throughout the day. A typical exchange between me and him might go as follows:
"David, get your coat on, please."
"Why do I need to put on a coat?"
"Because, baby, we are going to the store. Now go get it and put it on."
"Why? Why are we going to the store?"
"Because I need to pick up a few things from the grocery store, that's why."
"But why? What things do you need from the store, Momma?"
"Just some milk and things like that. Come on now, get your coat on!"
"Why do I have to wear a coat?"
As you might imagine, it gets a little tiring at times. No doubt, if you're a parent, you have experienced the same thing.
And now it's my turn to ask why.
No, I don't need to know why I wear a coat to the store in the wintertime. I figured that one out a long time ago.
This time, I'm asking why do I believe what I believe.
I know, I should have figured that one out a long time ago too. After all, I grew up in a Christian home where God and His Word were daily talked about. I went to church all the time - Sunday school, Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and all those special services in between. I attended a Christian school. I went to a Christian college, where not only did we have Sunday school, Sunday morning service, Sunday evening service, and Wednesday evening service, but we also had chapel services every day. On Saturdays, I ran a Bible club in the neighborhood and told kids about Jesus. I've been in church my whole life.
When I came to Oregon several years ago, naturally I fell into the pattern of "be at church as much as possible." I worked with the teenagers for a while. I visited a bus route. I worked in the nursery. I taught kids in children's church. If anyone asked, I could spout off a list of reasons why I dressed the way I did, listened to the music I did, participated in the activities I did, read the Bible like I did, and so on.
But I didn't believe it. I was so busy "playing church" that I didn't take the time to examine myself and really own my faith.
Don't get me wrong. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, sent to be born of a virgin, live on earth, suffer death on the cross for all mankind, and then rise in victory from the grave, conquering death and providing a lifeline to anyone who will accept it.
I believe that I am a sinner, doomed to Hell. I believe that long ago, in my young, earnest faith, when I prayed to God, confessing my sins and asking Him to save me, He did!
I believe that someday I will get to spend eternity with Him in Heaven.
However, I also believe that I was a "Pharisee" of sorts. I did a lot of "good things" for the sake of looking good and fitting in. I felt as if I were better than a lot of people because of the dress standards, music standards, and other ridiculous rules I held myself to. I didn't have a solid Bible verse or vision from God to stand upon in these matters. Yet, I followed the scores of "do's" and "do not's" imposed by the churches I was in because they gave me security. As long as I was doing all those things "right," I didn't have to really examine myself. I could ignore the false motives and self-righteousness that permeated my heart.
When we left our IFB church a few months ago, I made the decision to also leave all those rules and works behind. Doing that forced me to see myself for who I really was, and it left me raw and feeling extremely ashamed and vulnerable. Praise God He has forgiven me and is healing me daily.
And now I realize that besides the most basic tenets of my faith, I don't really know what I believe or why I believe it. What should church be like? What version of the Bible is right? Why does all of this matter anyway? And so I am searching the answers for myself. I am not relying on anyone else anymore to tell me how to think, what to wear, or what to do.
It's just God and me on this journey together. And somehow, I know He doesn't mind me asking all these "why" questions as I seek to make my faith my own.