A riot has broken out in Ephesus. The goddess Artemis (Diana) is facing threat due to Paul’s mission of spreading the Gospel in the City. Already, there are converts to Christianity and since Artemis cannot defend herself, a silversmith called Demetrius mobilizes craftsmen saying, ‘You see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that man-made god are not gods at all’ (Acts 19:26). He continues to say; ‘There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited, and the goddess herself, who is worshipped throughout the province of Asia and the world will be robbed of her divine majesty’ (v27). Truly, in defending what their hands have made, ‘All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame’ (Isaiah 44:9). Their gods ‘have mouths but cannot speak, eyes but they cannot see; they have ears but cannot hear’ (Psalm 115:5-6). They do not act on behalf of their worshippers, and as Elijah remarks, ‘Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or travelling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened’ (1 Kings 18:27). So, Demetrius and his followers shouted louder so that the entire ‘city was in an uproar’ (Acts 19:29). Soon, ‘The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another’ (v32). And the interesting thing is;
‘Most of the people did not even know why they were there’
In a similar manner, some people do not even know why they are Christians. They don’t know why they believe in Jesus. In short, ‘They know nothing, they understand nothing’ (Psalm 82:5). Perhaps like the riot in Ephesus, they just found themselves in the crowd. They found themselves born into ‘Christianity’, while in reality, no one is actually born a Christian. Others like the mob in Ephesus simply followed the masses, as all roads led to the riot. Likewise, some are Christians only by affiliation. Also, some other lot may have found themselves in the riot in Ephesus because they stopped by out of curiosity. Similarly, some try out Christianity out of curiosity, and then just decided to dormantly remain there. Whichever the case, such people do not have a clear idea why they are Christians. When at some point they realize that Christianity is not what they had thought, they begin to say like some of the masses that followed Jesus, ‘This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?’ (John 6:60). Jesus being aware about their murmurings asks, ‘Does this offend you?’ (v61). This is because those who do not understand why they follow Jesus become easily offended when the reality of Christianity does not match their perception. And so, ‘From this time many of his (Jesus’) disciples turned back and no longer followed him’ (v66).
Those who know their why are deeply rooted in their faith. Job clearly knew the why in his belief in God, so that even when he faced adversity, he was able to say, ‘Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him’ (Job 13:15). Even when his friends tried to offer comfort, Job could discern what to take because he was sure of his why in God. He tells his friends, ‘I have heard many things like these; miserable comforters are you all!’ (16:v2). Those who do not know their why lack discernment, and so agree to everything they hear just because ‘everyone says so’. Such double minded people are ‘like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind’ (James 1:6). In short, they are ‘unstable in all (their) ways’ (v8), because they are not grounded in their why regarding their belief in Christ. David admonishes, ‘Do not be like a horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you’ (Psalm 32:9). In other words, one ought to get understanding and guidance from the Word, from God Himself, and not be controlled by external influences, mob mentality, or hearsays.
‘But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect’ (1 Peter 3:15). Knowing the reason for your belief and the entire doctrine is a MUST for all those professing to be Christians. It is only then can our why surface because, ‘How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?’ (Romans 10:14). Believing can only come when one hears and then understands what they hear. Understanding comes not by following a Sunday procession, but by taking personal time and ‘rightly dividing the word of truth’ (2 Timothy 2:15). It also entails going ‘into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret will reward you’ (Matthew 6:6). When we seek our why directly from God by getting to know Him, He rewards us by showing His face to us, thus revealing to us the why. We come to see more of His qualities, and so clearly see our reasons for our faith- because He is a God who speaks for Himself, with His own mouth. His own Word.
Those who do not come to the point where like David they can truly say, ‘I said to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing’ (Psalm 16:2) are in great danger. In fact, Jesus says, ‘Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven’ (Matthew 7:21). This is because Christianity is not a tag or mere lip service, it is an understanding and doing of God’s will. That is why ‘wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom, and with all thy getting get understanding’ (Proverbs 4:7). That is why Jesus asks, ‘But what about you? Who do you say I am?’ (Matthew 16:15). When one fails to know Jesus for who He truly is, how can they answer Him? Unlike other religions, Christianity is for those who think critically and don’t follow blindly. That is why God says of those who turn to other gods, ‘No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say . . . Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?’ (Isaiah 44:19,20). Christianity is a searching life. It is a knowing life. It is a reflective life. It is a taking-stock life. It is knowing the Reason, and the reason why you believe in the Reason. David knew his why; apart from God, he had no good thing. What is your why? While finding it, it is always good to have many valid reasons why.
‘For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have even what he has will be taken from him’ ~ Matthew 25:29