In an effort to start a new church, I was canvassing door to door in my neighborhood inviting anyone who would talk to me to visit us and at least see what we were all about.
A well-dressed gentleman answered the door and it was evident he was about to leave for work. When I stated why I was there, he said, “To be honest, Mr. Scott, I don’t need God. I have a lovely home, a good job, a fine family. What do I need God for?” Somewhat taken aback, I thought a moment and then responded. ‘Mr.,” I said, “I submit that within 50 years you are going to change your tune!” “Fifty years?” he replied. “I won’t be here then.” “Precisely!” I said, and walked away.
The man wasn’t being unkind; he was merely being honest. Along this same line, I once asked one of my close friends if he ever gave God any thought. “No. Not at all!” Gravely ill and, like all of us, facing certain death, the God he will soon meet has no place in his thinking. How can that be?
First of all, unless one takes the time to read and give thought to Jesus Christ, His world view, His philosophy of life, and the message He preached, it will be difficult to think in terms of God and eternity with any degree of certainty. The easy way out, of course, is to give God no thought at all. To be free of all constraints, able to do what we want. But that doesn’t change the truth; ignoring reality changes nothing.
And, secondly, belief in God and submission to His authority is too confining to many. To discover there is a God, and to surrender to His will really cramps our style! The convenient way out is simply to ignore Him.
Atheist Philosopher Thomas Nagel, in his book, The Last Word (as quoted by Timothy Keller in Preaching, p. 82), is honest enough to admit, “It isn’t that I don’t believe in God and naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.”
And that, I believe, is the real issue. Whatever our world view, whatever our religious convictions, whatever our life-style, it is tempting to opt out for a belief system that leaves us free to do our own thing. Surrendering our freedom, even to God, is not to be taken lightly.
The kicker, however, is that not a one of us is truly free. Writing in Out of the Saltshaker, Rebecca Pippert notes, “Whatever controls us is our god – even if we hate it. … We do not control ourselves. We are controlled by the lord of our life. … Jesus always preserves our freedom. … [He] will not control us in the wrong way. …There are problems in this issue of control. Either we are controlled by the wrong thing or we try to control Jesus by limiting him to our terms. Jesus will accept our faith, but he will never accept our controls. … He knows he is the only one in the universe who can control us without destroying us (pages 52, 53, 54).
You want to talk about it? I would be honored, so hit me up at [email protected]