The Faith Experiment

Deciding to believe, going where faith is, consuming faith-building materials, clarifying the object of faith certainly these were all good recommendations. But something still seemed to be absent. "At some point, the faith journey needs to begin," I said. "How does that happen?"

"Sitting and brooding over faith and doubt will never make a believer out of anybody," came Anderson's response. "Neither will reading all the right books or hanging out with the right people or even making the decision to believe. Ultimately, you must embark on your experiment of faith by doing what faith would do.

"Jesus said that if we continue in his Word-that is, continue doing what Jesus says-then we are truly his disciples.9 Being a disciple means you're a 'following learner.' And when you're a following learner, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.

"Knowing the truth doesn't mean filling your head with knowledge; this is the Hebrew 'know,' which isn't gathering information. It's experiential knowledge. Like Adam knew Eve-he didn't just know her name and address; he experienced her.

"To experience the truth and be set free, you have to be a following learner. In other words, do what Jesus says and you'll experience the validity of it. It's kind of like riding a bicycle. You can't watch a video or read a book about it; you've got to get on one and get the feel of it."

"How does a person do that?" I asked.

"You say, 'I've heard some things that Jesus taught. They sound like good ideas to me, but I don't know if they're true. For instance, I've heard Jesus say it's more blessed to give than to receive. How can I know if that's true?' Well, a thousand debates won't prove it. But when you become generous, you'll realize this is truth. You might say, 'Oh, maybe Jesus accidentally guessed right about that one.' Then just keep going. You'll be amazed at how often he 'guessed' right!"

I reached over to pick up Anderson's Bible, rummaging through it until I came to Psalm 34:8. "King David said, 'Taste and see that the Lord is good,"' I said. "Is that what you're talking about?"

"That's the idea. The more you do this," he said with conviction, "the more you will experientially be woven into a web of faith."

I expected Anderson to elaborate, but he momentarily stopped with that comment. He glanced off to the side as he gathered his thoughts. Then he went on to talk movingly about the experience of faith.

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