What Do You Know For Sure?
This question inspired the series. It was asked of me (and a few hundred others) by a pastor at the church I attend. He was quoting Gene Siskel, as in “Siskel & Ebert,” who asked this question at the end of each interview he conducted. He did not ask it in the context of the interview. Not “What do you know for you sure about this movie? Or the upcoming release date? Or the cast that’s been pulled together?” No, Gene Siskel wanted to know his subject’s life philosophy, and the answer to “What do you know for sure?” reveals much about one’s philosphy.
Of course after this illustration was explained from the pulpit, it was connected to the current sermon series, and then asked of us. What do we know for sure? Not what might be true or what we assume to be right. What thing or things do we know deep inside of us that are unshakably true? The answer I jotted down–he asked us to write it down–was very spiritual: “Jesus is it for me. I have no idea who I am without him.” Today, as I write, I remain sure about the latter part. I’ve only known my life in the context of Jesus, in the context of Christianity. I actually don’t know how to disassociate the two. I could try, but I’d only be pretending.
The first part, “Jesus is it for me,” looks like I was concerned my neighbor was looking on as I wrote it. I think I meant it though. Not much else has proven steadfast in my twenties thus far. However, since the sermon and my bold privately written declaration, I’ve had a conversation with an agnostic who is content not knowing anything is for sure.
Oh to have that ability. Contentment in not knowing. I know, for sure, I need to know truth. I need to know something on this earth will not fall over no matter how hard I kick it. I’ve thankfully discovered resilience in a few things. But am also beginning to see things give a little that I once thought to be oak.
So I guess the question is not only “What do you know for sure?” but also “Do you need to know anything for sure?”
Great question to ask myself all day and very day. I love you sweetie
I know Jesus for sure, everything he is and everything he did for me. I know the Bible is for sure. I know God is for sure. I need to know these things. I need to know that there is someone outside of myself that I can turn to when my life is a roller coaster. I need to know there is some Truth I can count on in the midst of all the lies that surround me. There is much peace and joy in this knowing.
Thanks for asking the question and reminding me of what I know for sure.
Thanks for chiming in, Angela. Definitely peace and joy in that knowledge. In fact, I’m not sure how to have peace and/or joy outside that knowledge.
There’s not much I know for sure these days. But there’s a lot I take on trust: I trust that all things work together for good. And I trust that God will keep picking me up when I fall, and keep showing Himself in ways I didn’t expect.
Great question, Andrea. What a heavyweight to kick off the series!
They won’t all be this heavy. I can’t handle it 🙂
Really good post and REALLY good question. I’m looking forward to the whole series. If every question is this thought-provoking, I may have to quit my job so I can stay home and contemplate my answers! 🙂
The first things that popped into my head were that consumerism isn’t Biblical and that I really hate tomatoes. So much for depth.
When it comes to faith in Jesus, even though I’m convinced that he’s true, I lean on faith above certainty. I read somewhere recently that the opposite of faith isn’t doubt, but certainty. I wish I could remember the reference, because I think it’s a great quote. If you’re certain about something, believing it doesn’t require faith. I probably practice more faith & faith-fuelled doubt than I do certainty: certainty to me means I’d be able to irrefutably prove that Jesus is who he claimed to be to my friends and loved ones who don’t believe in him and I can’t do that. I can live my faith and doubt honestly, and hopefully communicate who I believe Jesus is throughout my actions, relationships and words.
I also find myself thinking of Hebrews 11:1, and I’m not sure that the NIV, ESV or Message translations are compelling me to be certain as much as they are compelling me to be faithful. I feel like “conviction” and “assurance” are faith words, rather than proof words.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (NIV)
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (ESV)
“The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.” (The Message)
Maybe debating faith v. certainty is me being picky and getting caught in semantics and the lack of certainty that defines post-modernism. Maybe I’m totally missing the point. I’m not sure. Either way, this is a hard question and an important one, too.
Not picky at all. If I’m certain, there’s not much need for faith. Maybe what I meant was “What do you have complete faith in?” But would COMPLETE faith be faith…? You got brain spinning more than it already was!
First time visiting here. Very thoughtful.
What do I know for sure? Without meaning to be coy, or trite, the only answer that makes sense to me is:
“Jesus loves me, this I know–for the Bible tells me so.”
That’s about all I know for sure.
Andrea, I think your answer was perfect! True. And so very wise and necessary. Why should you, or I, be ashamed to be confident in love? In His love. Do you know for sure your dad and mom love you? Where would you be on a day to day basis without it?
All knowledge is summed up in Jesus. You proved yourself to be quite astute when you jotted that down.
I am the same. I cannot separate myself from the knowledge of Him. I don’t know what it’s like to live without Him. I understood my need for Him, His love for me at 6. I know nothing else. Nor do I want to.
One day after church, Hubby and I were discussing a particular issue with a church member and I said, “You know, I’m convinced of one thing. People need the love of Jesus. If they could just get a hold of how much love and good He has for them, their lives would be transformed.”
I believed it then. I believe it even more today.
There’s no force more powerful than a loved “woman.” Think about it. How vibrate and brave is a loved heart!!
Thanks for your thoughts, Rachel! So very true. When you feel loved, you can love others. When you don’t, it’s extremely difficult to do so.
As I journey through a time of learning to truly trust the Lord I came across this question and found it to be both thought provoking and a reminder of what we already know all at the same time. We know for sure that the Lord is our Savior, He is all that we need and we can trust him…..but the difference between knowing something and owning something is where the true peace of Christ is. We can “know” all day long that the Lord is all that we need but when everything else is taken away do we still “feel” the same? I was fortunate enough to read an article your dad wrote about trusting in the Lord and he reminds us that even some of the greatest followers had fear/doubts/questions…..Peter…..John……
Not only what do we know for sure? But do we own it even when we are in the storm?
GOOD point, Cindy. I love that distinguishing between “knowing” and “owning.”
ok without defaulting to mentioning Jesus, because that IS one of my answers…
I’ll say simply this: I know for sure that I think my family is weird, hilarious, loud, abrupt, crazy and fun.
From the stories I get to hear on a weekly basis, I would say that is also something I know for sure. I’m coming to your next family reunion simply to observe.
That God is always in control. Always.
Great post Andrea. Thanks for being a digital scribe in this time and place.
[…] final question of the year goes back to the one I began with: What do you know for sure? I’ve realized this is what I was getting at all along. I wanted to figure out if we, as […]