Is Belief Right For You?
|I grow tired of being a Christian at times. Being
a Christian can be a comfort, but also a strain that
wears you out at times. At times I feel sorry for myself.
It is when I feel sorry for myself I decide Christianity demands too much from a little. Can we, being human, rise to such heights as God’s love? No, maybe sometimes, but I realize what is happening in the call to do so.
Asking for more than you may do is finding out what you can do. That is always more than you thought you could do. You do better if you believe and aim for the highest and best.
A good coach knows that by asking the impossible, he may achieve an improbable that is sometimes incredible. He tells his team they can do more than they can. By challenging them to higher accomplishment, he gets more than he would have otherwise gotten. Even if the team does not do as well as urged, they do better than they would have done had a demanding coach been absent. Reason with me. If a good coach is aware of this, is God any less aware of this principle, being God? Is this not what is implied in I Timothy 6:12.“Fight the good fight.”
So when I feel strained, I recall just what God is doing. A good member of the team obeys his coach and believes him. Sometimes my old coach would say: You can do it. Listen to me, son: “even when I am wrong, I am right.” And he was right! I always did better by believing him.
Even if I lost, if it turned out he was wrong but he was right. I got more out of myself by believing he was right. I realized that even when he was wrong, he was right. Belief was the right thing to do. I went further on belief in him and his judgment than I would have gotten on my own younger, inexperienced, error-prone mind and lack of confidence. This is an illustration of faith. I urge you to believe in the right, that may be wrong, you will do better through believing.
There is truth and there is truth. There is a truth for you that is maybe not true in the eyes of the world. There are truths made in living. All of us need to find and establish our own truths. Belief in God is my truth. It may work for you.
Yet God is real. I know from personal experience he is. But if it is an issue for you, that is a secondary issue, largely irrelevant to life. You must discover by grace what is true for you. I know that my redeemer liveth. (Job 19:25)
God works for me. I enjoy Him. Why should I or anyone else give up a God who fits us and is enjoyable? There is no absolute proof there is no God. Some may suggest there is no God, but do not prove it, nor ever will do so. So I believe in God until the day God is proven absolutely not to be real. It is absurd to give up a belief in a God that works for us. He also works for many others. (I believe in God primarily because I see grace nearly everywhere.)
I suggest the “no God” groups largely exist since they cannot piece it together God works indirectly in achieving His will. That God is subtle is evident from scripture. His ways are not our ways but a “new and living way.” (Hebrews 1O:20) But when He is not understandable by our ways, some people are angry and petulant. They jump to the mad conclusion there is no God. The problem lies in our minds and attitudes, not God's.
is God RIGHT FOR YOU? If God works for you, why bring it up about no God unless it can be proven. Why would anyone give up a good thing for an unproven reason. Yet I know what is proven for me and what is not proven by some doubting God.
God does not work for some people. They do not give Him an opportunity to work. Their minds are shut to Him. They would have to give up too much they are doing if they felt God was real. Many people don’t want God. He might spoil their orgy of materialism, of judging by money, unbridled licentiousness, of selfish living.
I ask you: why would a man who owned a munitions factory want to end war? Why would so many people making money off sinful things want to admit of God? Many people seek a reason not to believe in God.
Many social forces support those who deride belief in God. There are many selfish rationalizations in their having anti-God views. Look for economic motives, power motives , political and social motives. The world is not worldly for nothing. Ask what the Romans did: Who profits? Who profits from non-belief and eliminating Christian life and morality from our society.
Then there are those of so called “liberal” views. I have found many of them do not believe in God because belief in God is common to mankind. What Pharisees they are! Like the Pharisee who went to the temple to thank God he was not as other men, they wish not to believe in God to show they are not as ordinary men. Intellectual snobbishness is in not believing in God.
It occurs to me finer persons might want to share in common humanity with others. Not setting themselves apart to appear “cute” when belief is natural to mankind. But bad educations have made many intellectual snobs who do not want to believe as then they would be seen to share a belief in God with the “common herd” they look down on and patronize. As you can see, a decent person would not want to share some parts of the too liberal motivation for non-belief.
What is primarily before us is your finding out if belief is right for you. First, please consider the motivations for non-belief. Then consider your motivations for belief. One of them for belief is that it is a natural instinct of men everywhere for all of history to believe in God.
Do you wish to deny or reject anything so basic to human nature as religion? Do you wish to be a warped person? A grotesque repressing the spiritual needs of the self that were put in you by Nature’s God?
No, I suggest sensible persons might prefer to accept the needs, natural to life. Just make sure the spiritual need is met in a good, wise and balanced manner. No religion is perfect in this but some religions are better than others in satisfying with dignity and respect the native, natural, instinctive desires in human nature for a belief in God.
I must also remind you that in our faith grace fulfills nature. It is through good religion that man is spiritualized and civilized. Mankind needs revealed religion to point him to spiritual realms of higher values than nature, red tooth and claw, and claw. Revealed religion is needed because selfish literal mankind might not arrive at these things on his own.
Mankind needs religion to confirm compassion, to create harmony, to give a right purpose, and to become aware of grace that grace may be reflected in the lives of those whom recognize it. I know the world needs revealed religion for its spiritual progress and redemption. “What shall it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and loses himself.” (Luke 9:25) Not only are there many individuals in danger of losing themselves, but now those on the world are in danger of literally losing the world.
I know our world needs true spiritual religion, not just passing off creeds and quarrels as real faith. We do not need any more spiritual corporations passing off creeds for God. What is needed is a matter of personal relationships with God.
Spiritual religion is right for the world. Historically it has proven right for many. Many are now proving it right for them. Is it right for you?
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.