Wednesday, June 11, 2014

What if...?

I've got a question for my fellow Christians out there. If everyone else wants to peek in, you are welcome - you may find it interesting. But for those who profess Christ, here is the question:

What would happen to your life if you suddenly changed your mind and decided there is no God?

I believe there would be two major areas that could be affected: our public and our private lives.

As for our public lives, for some us it is possible that very little would change. You would keep going to work, keep hanging out with your friends, keep watching sports, keep going to movies. In fact, you may even keep going to church, saying blessings before meals, and going along with public displays of religion. After all, you've built a pretty good life, so why rock the boat? If you are happy with your job, family, and friends, you may not even tell anyone.

But how about your private life?

  • I can't imagine that you would be praying or reading your Bible in private anymore - that would stop. What's the point?
  • How about the motives for your actions throughout the day? Instead of doing everything for God's glory, it would be all about you. Your acts of kindness and displays of religion would be motivated by wanting to be thought of as a good person. You want people to like you, so you are nice.
  • What about your thought patterns? Instead of thinking about Jesus and his love for you, you would be thinking about the mundane issues of life. Every waking thought would be about what's going on in the moment - your job, your date, the movie you're watching, the video game you're playing. No thoughts of how it fits into a bigger purpose.
Now, when I read back over that list, I have to ask myself another question: am I living like that already?
  • Do I set aside time to pray, study the Scriptures, and spend time getting to know my Creator? And if I do, is it out of obligation, or is it because I love him and can't wait to get to know him better?
  • Do I do what I do out of self-interest (including to be liked and thought of as nice)? Or do I regularly think of God's glory and how I can bring honor to him?
  • How much do I really set my mind on things above, and how much do I get caught up in the rat race?
There is a term for the person who lives like that: a functional atheist. Looking like a believer but functioning like an atheist. He professes belief in God and faith in Jesus, and his public life looks pretty darn good. But his private life shows it to be a sham. The fact that God exists makes no real difference in his life. Even though he may look like a believer, if he looks really hard at his own heart he'll see that it's empty and void.

Jesus had a word for functional atheists:
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ [public displays of devotion] And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’"
- Jesus in Matthew 7: 21-23 (NASB, note in brackets mine)

That's no way to live. I think it's time for us to get in or out of the boat. A life full of meaning while serving the living God...or living for ourselves.

Your choice. My choice. Let's get to it.

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