TRIP TO TRUTH
Spiritual Roadmap for Honest Doubters
Revised 2020 Edition
“I don’t believe in God…!”
A letter I received started off just like that. Then the writer added, “At least I don’t think I do. Can you help me?” Know what a request like that really means? “Could you help me settle my doubts without forcing any ideas on me?” And that’s the way it should be.
I answered that letter by sending a spiritual ROAD MAP. Surprised? The nice thing about a map, you see, is that it doesn’t tell people which way to go. It simply tells them how to get where they want to go. They choose their destination. It’s just the thing for those with honest doubts.
But whoever heard of a map for answering spiritual doubt? You just did. Since I can’t claim to have all the truth, I’m safer in giving you a road map for satisfying yourself on which way to go. Are you game to try it on your own doubts?
You may find it fun! Fun with doubt? Yes. Honest doubts are great. They keep us from spiritual error. We remain uneasy until we find satisfying answers to our questions. This is good. Doubts are a safety device to keep us from substituting fancy for faith. You’ll have fun with your doubts. Watch them work for you. The more honest your doubts, the more satisfied you’ll be at the end of our trip.
One of the reasons people suffer doubt is that they do not have a beginning point to anchor their thoughts. It is possible to wonder and speculate about spiritual things without ever reaching a conclusion. Until you have a point from which to develop your ideas, nothing gets settled. This keeps doubt alive.
Car Named Honesty
It was honesty that produced your doubt in the first place. Now we’ll let it bail you out. As we take this trip to truth we will travel in “Honesty.” That’s the name of our car and she’s a reliable old vehicle. She’ll get us there.
Remember, you are an honest doubter heading toward the first crossroad. Let’s talk about you as we drive. Ready?
Ever ask yourself, “Who am I…?”
Don’t answer with your name, it goes deeper than that. It’s more a question of, “Why am I me? Do others feel this I-self as I do?” Excuse the grammar, but we all ask ourselves things like that from time to time, don’t we? Be honest now. Haven’t you ever wondered how you got here—this particular time in history—this country—this family?
Sure. We all have. That’s the beginning point. Now here’s a fun little question to ask yourself. It’s easy to answer and the instant you do, it settles something. Let all those ideas that have been chasing each other in your head for years come together. Reach for a conclusion. Do it. You’ll feel so good.
CROSSROAD #1: “AM I JUST A PRODUCT OF EVOLUTION?”
“Am I an accident or freak of nature in some way, or is there a planned purpose for my being on earth? Am I just a coincidence or an intentionally created being?” The trip stops now until this is decided. Want to get out and stretch your legs? It’s a good way to think.
Pondering a YES Decision?
The YES vote holds that you are a byproduct of some form of evolution which is itself some kind of an accident. Here you are—a part of the animal kingdom—the highest form in fact. You will exist for a time and then disappear—like a bug! It happens every day. We see people born, exist for a bit, then return to the dust. The dust is unexplained too as well as the rest of the visible world. How did this come into being? How could nonlife create life, or nothing create something?
The theory goes that by some unexplained process you are a peculiar mixture of highly organized flesh, blood and bone randomly evolved through billions of years. Yet you possess the ability to think, plan a future and create. No other animal does this. How did that happen? No destiny is seen other than oblivion. Some apparently have short spans, others longer, but all existence appears to be temporary. You are here, that’s all you really know. How you got here, why—and most baffling WHO YOU ARE remains unanswered.
You decide you are a random product of evolution and your existence is unimportant. There is no Creator-God and therefore no good or evil. You can do whatever you can get away with.
Pondering a NO Decision?
You find yourself the supreme creature of an orderly universe, delicately timed and perfected. Ships at sea locate their position because the heavenly bodies move so precisely. Natural laws are discoverable and then used because they hold true from one day to the next. Who sees to that? Fantastic design is everywhere, from the flawless rings of Saturn to the matchless detail of the smallest creatures. What remarkable care goes into the prevention of duplicate fingerprints, even for all newborn babies. Who is watching so closely?
Consider the snowflake, that 6-point bit of ice. No two alike there either. How many does it take to fill a bucket? Cover a mountain range? Build the glaciers of centuries? This defies imagination, doesn’t it? What attention must be required every second to prevent duplication in this orderly world? Wow! Whose?
Coincidence? Give a person a bag of jumbled letters and how many times must he shake it to cast upon the table an exact poem? How might a person by the careless toss of his hand, sprinkle colors upon a canvas to produce the image of a horse or beautiful landscape? And would more indifferent tosses give us the exact portrait of a man? How could jumbled musical notes create a symphony from sound frequencies?
And is a human himself any easier to create by accident? Could whole civilizations of them be created by the same process? What about the amazing DNA in every one of us? Who created that? The most significant feature we humans have is our ability to imagine. Imagination—how did that happen? People are able to dam rivers, create wondrous devices, probe the universe, create beautiful art because we can imagine things before they exist, then create them. Must there be a Creator who made all of this? And must there be a reason for our existence?
Ready to decide? Do it now. Twenty-five more years of research would only confirm the orderliness of things. You would not be any better able to decide. It really isn't that difficult.
TURNING POINT #1
Here we are at the first crossroad. It is a turning point. Remember, we are going to reach our destination by making one decision after another. You are faced with choice #1, look at it.
“I believe I am a product of evolution. I am not a created being with a destiny.”
(Mark your choice with an “X.” Be definite—honest.)
YES. You decided on accidental existence. It’s settled then. Your most valuable possession is physical life. Nothing is worse than dying, for it terminates your span. Happiness and enjoyment become watchwords. Even if it means exploiting the other animals, do it. This is a “bug eat bug” world. Eat, drink and be merry all you can. The end approaches and there is no God to whom you must account. The needs of others don’t concern you, for we all end up the same regardless of personal relationships. Yes, laws are made to regulate human behavior for the common good, but what is that to you. If you can squeeze more from life by lawlessness, do it. You are the only law. One life is all you have and you’d better get while the getting is good. There is no eternal destiny.
NO. You decided there is an unknown Creator-God and you were created for some sort of destiny on this planet and have an eternal destiny. Now you can move on to the next leg of the journey. You would like to learn more about this unknown future. Maybe you will be one who can go all the way to reach a final conclusion. I hope so. Listen to Honesty purr as we head toward the next crossroad. Slow down, there’s the sign just ahead:
CROSSROAD #2: "SHOULD I CONSIDER THE BIBLE EXPLANATION?"
This is not a question of believing the Bible or accepting it as the Word of God. The question is should you examine it for clues concerning your destiny? Having decided you have a destiny of some kind; it is now a matter of where to look for information.
Go to a funeral. Stand beside the open coffin and look down. A body lies there, complete with a brain. Nothing is missing—EXCEPT THE PERSON INSIDE (SOUL). (The soul, aka spirit, is that essence of you that is eternal and goes into the spiritual world when the body dies.) Then it hits you. Human existence must go beyond the body! A valid clue? Indeed. But where did the person go? There is only one place where information like that is dealt with carefully and authentically—the Bible. Should you look there? Let’s get out and walk around some more.
Pondering a NO Decision?
You heard it contains a maze of fairy tales, supernatural stories and is the product of superstition. You realize there is an innate curiosity concerning life after death and this could be a human means for satisfying it. After all, it was written by men. Besides, people are religious instinctively. All over the world, they are found worshipping something, even if they have to make it with their own hands. The Bible could be a similar product. Only instead of a carved image, men have preserved a Book of legend. Therefore any information it offered would be purely human invention.
Still, there remains the one big clue—man’s departure from the body. Satisfied that destiny does take you beyond the body, where else should you look for information? To the physical sciences? They deal only with matter and energy. The clue goes beyond that. History, perhaps? The world seems to be moving toward a utopia which may one day see the abolishment of disease and war—maybe death itself? Possibly. But there is still the matter of your destiny. You have only a few years left. Then what?
Pondering a YES Decision?
The Bible offers specific information on God the Creator plus human origin and the reasons for it. It unfolds the story of humans on earth as well as their future after the death of their bodies. You are interested. There could be clues here. Why has this particular Book occupied such a big place in lives all these centuries? Multitudes have been impressed by it and our own country of the USA was founded and built upon it. Would it be honest to ignore it?
Is it fair to make a judgment regarding the human story without studying the Bible? Most scientists seek all the information they can get before attempting conclusions. Besides, your honest doubts will protect you from undue influence. They’ll help sift out clues, even if the Bible should prove a mixture of supernatural stories and events. It doesn’t cost anything to investigate, just time. But what if it turns out to actually be the Revelation of God as a Person! What tragedy if should you fail to look into it!
TURNING POINT #2
Your first choice settled the matter, and you now consider what your destiny might be. No longer do you have to look back and rehash the evolution business. All of your energy can be devoted to the possibility of looking into the Bible for clues.
“I choose to examine the Bible for clues concerning my destiny.”
NO. You have decided you were not a random product of evolution. However, the idea of an unknown destiny isn’t comfortable for you either. You have refused the Bible as a source of information, at least for the time being. You might have reasoned it to be no different from other religious works. The Indians had their Great White Father, the Mohammedans, their Koran and what about Confucius, Buddha and thousands of others? A person could start checking all that stuff and never get through it with a reasonable answer.
This Bible stuff might be great for old people who don’t have anything else to do. And since life is full of gambles anyway, what’s wrong with waiting and taking your chances. Maybe somewhere in the course of things, a clue will turn up by itself. And if it doesn’t, oh well, that’s life.
YES. This appears as an intelligent thing to do. You are an honest doubter coming to the Bible, but you are not about to buy religious conclusions simply because others do. You don’t care if the Bible is the world’s best-seller, or how many millions believe it to be God’s revelation. But you are willing to go ahead. All right. It’s time to get into Honesty once more and head down the highway of truth to the next crossroad.
CROSSROAD #3: “IS JESUS CHRIST WHO HE CLAIMED TO BE?”
When you begin reading the Four Gospels of the New Testament, it won’t be long before you discover Jesus Christ to be the central Person. Remarkable things are said about Him, but He Himself said even more amazing words throughout His ministry. They have to do with you and your destiny. If there is the slightest truth in them, they are more urgent than anything you have ever considered before.
God of Love
During His interview with Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling body, Jesus spoke the most glorious words that have even been spoken in the history of the world:
“For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Love is the only explanation for this divine behavior. The whole Bible is all about God’s love of people and it climaxed with the giving of God’s own unique Son to die for our sins so that we may have eternal life. There is no greater love than this! He rose from the dead and has a place in heaven prepared for those who believe.
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” Think about it. He says He is the Savior of the World! The only one!
What are your feelings when He says: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” and “I and the Father are One.” Ever read anything like that before? No other book has made such statements! People have claimed to be prophets, but Jesus says He is the unique Son of God.
Not only that, He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no one comes to the Father except through me!” Imagine someone claiming to be the only way to heaven! He also stated, “I am the door; whoever enters through me will be saved” (John 10:9). Who’d suspect a Person to be the doorway?
But it doesn’t stop there. See what He offers those who believe in Him:
• “Truly I say to you, he that hears my word and believes on Him that sent me has everlasting life.” (The body dies, but the person—never!)
• “Shall not come into condemnation” (no judgment for sin).
• “But is passed from death unto life” (spiritual life right now).
And there is a warning too: “Whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” And “If you do not believe that I am He, you will indeed die in your sins.” That’s strong! If those words are true, something has to be done about them. And that is the real issue, isn’t it?
Pondering a NO Decision?
You agreed to look in the Bible for clues, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept things because they are there. It could have been true that Jesus said those things, but it doesn’t make them so. He might have been sincere, but sincerely wrong. Lots of people believe things about themselves, but that is far from proof. Communists know that if you make a lie big enough, say it loud enough and long enough, people will believe it. It could have been something like that with Christ.
You’re not saying He was a bad person. You just doubt that He was the Son of God. He could have been mistaken in what He said about sin and hell. Even if you accept the fact of God and heaven, that doesn’t mean you have to believe everything in the Bible. It is hard to think God would condemn anyone because he didn’t believe a person written about in a book. It sounds very unfair.
Pondering a YES Decision?
2000 years ago something so fantastic happened that it split the calendar in half! A Man died on a cross, was pronounced dead, buried and then—AROSE! That was so shaking it cut history in two. Ever since time has been divided into B.C. and A.D. It takes something to do that. And it was, for Jesus announced ahead of time that is exactly what He would do. If this is true, it lifts Him out of the liar category.
If a man can demonstrate power over death, His claims are believable. Such a thing validates everything else He said. This is urgent because His words dealt directly with your destiny. You find yourself thinking, “History would have erased His memory quickly if it were not true.” The daily newspapers testify steadily that 2000 years ago an event changed the dateline from Roman time to Christ’s time. Were it not for His resurrection, we would still be using the Roman calendar, just as we use Roman law. While this isn’t proof of anything, it is powerful evidence in the courtroom of your mind.
There’s something else. Deep down inside you feel a strange witness. You can’t put your finger on it, but somewhere within, a prompting keeps whispering, “Choose Me for I have already chosen you.” We all were created with free wills, and at some time in our lives on earth, we have to choose who our god will be now and in the future eternal realm.
God has a responsibility too. What you feel is His Spirit addressing your conscience. When you honestly consider Christ, He is obligated to help. Faith doesn’t come by reason alone. If it did, no one would believe in Jesus. His story is too fantastic, and we tend to discount supernatural things today. Be honest now and you’ll sense His quiet voice.
TURNING POINT #3
A tough decision? This is the point where honesty pays off. What do you really feel now? Ready for the question, “Shall I believe the claims of Christ, or not?” This is all you need to decide now. Is He true in what He says or is it all a religious story that has little to do with us today?
“I believe Jesus was not lying nor deceived when He said He was the Son of God, Savior of the World and the only way to Heaven.”
NO. You passed up Christ. It was just too much. Who could believe that God would put on an ordinary body and assume such a menial role as that of a carpenter’s son? Why should He strip Himself of the advantages of Deity to participate in human existence like the rest of us? It isn’t reasonable to you that the Creator would suffer abuse at the hand of His creatures and endure the awful execution of the cross. To see Him dying as a human sacrifice for sin is too much like the myths of the Greeks.
See what this means? When you say no, you should now forget religion completely. With the most outstanding event of history no help, anything you select for faith now would have to be of a lower sort. If the hunger for an answer to your destiny continues, you may find yourself inventing a religion of your own. People do this, you know. If they cannot accept the revelation of Christ, they generally turn to something else. Usually, they end up worshipping some created thing or manufacturing a doctrinal system for reaching heaven by their own good works.
This is a psychological trap. If you fall for it, you will become a slave to something you have unconsciously produced for yourself. If you must worship (and it seems we all do), worship yourself. There is nothing nobler or higher on the creative scale. Even so, you know you haven’t the power to raise yourself from the dead. Destiny is still a puzzle, isn’t it?
YES. A strange thing happened. It is as though a mask has been removed from your heart. You found yourself in agreement with the Bible right away and so much is clear now. Never once did the Bible explain God or defend Him. It didn’t have to. He is the most easily discovered fact of the universe. Our sun comes up every day on a maintained schedule, says the Psalmist. And anyone who can see it is faced with the truth it didn’t make itself and has no intelligence for devising a timetable. Even a child reasons someone had to make it. Someone big!
And the Bible is not revered because of age, but because it alone contains the words the Creator spoke directly to all people concerning their destiny. Now you have believed them. See what this does? You believe they are true, now you have to do something about them. Yes, you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He said startling things that require action. And that’s another crossroad. It’s just ahead. Honesty is purring along like a kitten. There’s the sign now:
CROSSROAD #4: “SHALL I ACCEPT CHRIST AS MY PERSONAL SAVIOR?”
It’s a big jump from doubt to faith. Many can’t make it in a single bound. Rather than leave them in unbelief, this road map was designed to break up the distance with rest stops. One crossroad at a time eliminates doubt, and a series of little decisions are easier than big ones.
What will you do about the claims of Christ? It is one thing to believe them, quite another to respond to them. Response means action. Ask yourself this: “Shall I take action to have Christ as my personal Savior, or will I be content merely to acknowledge Him as the Son of God?” That gets things straight. If you want Christ, there is something you must DO. You are not automatically saved by just believing He is God. Even the devil believes that.
It is one thing to believe that Christ is the Savior of the world, died and rose again 2000 years ago. It is another to have Him as your personal Savior. One is to accept a religious truth, the other a dramatic personal experience. There is a world of difference between embracing the truth of Christ and receiving Him as your Lord. One is an opinion; the other an experience.
That experience is awaiting you right now. You will be using your free will in an act of faith by inviting Christ into your heart to be your personal Savior. Your destiny will be finalized that very same instant. We are now talking about meeting Jesus. Yes, He’s alive. You already believe death could not hold Him. So listen carefully. He is speaking to you right now:
“Behold I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I WILL COME IN…” (Rev. 3:20). That door, dear friend, is the door of your heart.
We all live behind doors, don’t we? How many times have you said, “Come in” to your neighbor’s knock at the door of your home? Won’t you respond to Jesus’ knock at the door of your heart? Here’s how: Get alone someplace. Speak right now to Him:
“Dear Lord Jesus, I am ready to believe your Word. I am a sinner and need you to save me. I open my heart to you. Please come in and be my personal Savior.”
If you do this and mean it, Jesus will certainly come into your life.
Pondering a NO Decision?
Surely you are free to say no. Hosts of people believe in Christ but refuse to receive Him as their personal Savior. Usually, they are quite religious. They go to church, get involved in activities. Some are even godly and do humanitarian acts of personal sacrifice. Some absolutely reject God, and He will never override their free wills.
The unhappy thing is that a NO decision causes you to miss the most wonderful thing your own religion (or no religion) has to offer. When you fail to invite the Son of God into your heart, you forfeit the eternal life which He brings! Religious, yet missing the best of your religion. How sad.
Recall how Jesus said He was the Life? There is no way to have spiritual eternal life apart from having Him. So even in spiritual matters, there are the “haves” and “have nots.” However, a NO decision does one thing for you. It settles your destiny. That’s why we started out on this trip. Now there is no doubt where you will spend eternity—in hell with Satan. You have chosen. As long as you hold to the “NO” you surely will never see God.
Pondering a YES Decision?
Perhaps you’ve never talked directly with the Lord before. Maybe you feel a little foolish in speaking to God? He is not interested in the words you use. He’s just waiting for you to open your door so He can come in and have fellowship with you. The above words of prayer simply help you do it.
The faith-method works when you want Him first, then you can see the spiritual presence of God. And then you are able to receive all the spiritual gifts He bestows on His children. When you think about it, isn’t that a perfect way of screening those who really want to be with God in eternity from those who don’t? It sure is. All it takes is enough honest concern to see if Christ is really waiting to come into your life or not. People who are not interested in Jesus, just won’t do it.
TURNING POINT #4
Yes, I can see a big difference between embracing a religious fact and having a personal experience with Christ. I don’t know exactly what you mean by an experience, but apparently it won’t cost me anything to find out. Having come this far, I am ready to let the Lord come to me personally. If Jesus really is alive and eternal life is in Him, I am ready to receive Him. Since eternal life is free, and can only be free, I’d be a fool to pass it up.
“I want Christ for my personal Savior and I willingly open my heart to Him. I want Him to come into my life and make Himself real to me.”
NO. A no decision is as good as a yes decision because each is clear cut. It is your own business what you have done with Christ. The important thing now is that you know what you have done. He asked to come into your heart. You said NO. You have not rejected the author of this book, but the One Who made you. Still, it isn’t all bad. You are an honest rejecter. You know where you stand and so does God. This is not nearly as dangerous as dishonest rejection. While there is life in your body, you are free to change your mind.
Any time you wish, you can turn and say, “Lord, I don’t want to be a rejecter anymore. I invite you to come into my heart.” You won’t need a priest, minister or anyone now that you know what to do. You can be relaxing any place, pondering spiritual things and open your heart to Jesus in a split second. God is not about to abandon you.
Until the day you die, He will be arranging all sorts of things to keep the matter alive. Maybe a crisis will bring you to this crossroad again. Maybe you will have a serious need and it will cause you to cry out to Him. Don’t be afraid. He is gentle and will bring the gift of eternal life anytime you want it. There are lots of honest rejecters in this position and they could be worse off.
But to die that way is serious! “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment!” Death fixes your decision. It can never be changed then. If you die an honest rejecter, you are still a rejecter and your fate is forever sealed. That is the point of no return. But until then, you are free to turn and be saved. The risky thing about it is you have no guarantee you will be alive 30 minutes from now. No one does!
YES. What a relief! The trip is over now. The distance between you and God has ended and the peace is glorious. Jesus came into your life! Now you know who you are, a child of God, sealed forever by His Holy Spirit. You have all of the Godhead and heaven’s privileges. You know why you are on earth; it was to make this very decision and accumulate the experiences of human life. And you know where you are going. You are heaven bound! The best is yet to come. Death offers no terror, for now, it is merely the exciting exit from this life into the presence of a God Who loves you enough to die for you. Talk about JOY!
MADE IT AND SATISFIED!
You have been free to decide for yourself the entire distance. I have given you a spiritual map that led directly to the target. Honesty got you there, so no one is deceived. What you think of Christ is your own business.
I hope I was fair in the alternatives. I wanted to be. If I helped you to find Christ as your personal Savior, I’m delighted. If I helped you to crystallize your honest rejection, that isn’t too bad either. You are better off than when we started. So thanks for letting me go with you on this spiritual Trip to Truth.
I rejoice that you opened your heart to Jesus. I’ve got to be honest with you about something. You are a Christian in a world that hates Christ. It will not be easy to be identified with Him. Our world tries to pretend He doesn’t exist. People will not talk about Him, except in profanity or inside church buildings. And when you do speak of Him, some will turn their heads or look at you as if you were some kind of a nut. Others may attempt to humiliate you. Even if they want nothing to do with Jesus, you do and so do I.
We all need to stick close together now, my friend. There aren’t too many of us left. So do this: write to my ministry. My family runs it now. Let them know of your decision to receive Christ. Maybe we all can become closer friends and enjoy the excitement in serving Him together.
John 3:36; John 5:24; John 8:24; John 10:30; John 14:6; John 14:9; 1 Cor. 1:21a; Heb. 9:27; Rev. 3:20
Edited by C. S. Lovett © 1965, 1980, 2020
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