In Australia people are giving up on religion, so the ABS says. Personally, I doubt it. There may be less people attending church, and a reduction in the number of those who have nominal attachment. But really, everyone is religious. Even the ‘no religion’ response is a religious response.
Those who do not believe in God still offer a response to God – one of unbelief. As those who are agnostic say ‘we don’t know if there is a God.’
Maybe there are just different religious responses.
Those who ignore God, and live as though he doesn’t exist.
Those who avoid God. Who know he’s probably there, who tip toe around his fingerprints, and do their best to think about other things.
Those who manipulate God. Or at least try to. If I
- work on my broken relationship
- pray harder
- get to church more
- stop that terrible behaviour
- give to that charity
- fill in the blank
…then God will do what I ask, bless me, accept me.
Then there’s following God. Receiving his gift of grace, forgiveness and life, and living a life that shows his true intent for life and humanity. This is the life Jesus has come to give.
‘No religion’ is not an option, so which one are you? And how is that working?
Read: Heb 13:1-6
Sometimes when I am met by a need or a context where I know I should move forward and respond, I push back and either procrastinate or simply turn away.
Why do I do that? Is it fear that my incompetence might be exposed Is it a sense that I might not be safe? Or is it prejudice? Or some combination of a whole raft of reasons? This passage speaks of ministering to prisoners (v.3) – do I fear their violence, and back off? We also read of strangers (v.2) – can they be trusted? Sometimes I am so prejudiced and governed by insecurity with moves me toward self protection and avoidance. Too easily, my fears blind me to what I really need to see. This is the interference of self.
Quite often the truth we need to hear is uncomfortable
Quite often, the truth we need to hear is uncomfortable. It interferes with the ‘realities’ we construct to protect ourselves from inconvenience. If one of these uncomfortable truths threatens my material wealth, my financial independence, or my leisure, I often try to push it away. Sometimes, I don’t even think I realise what I am doing. Yet through defensiveness or dismissal, or something as harmless as well directed humour, I persist in my denial. I would rather that people affirm me, and confirm the sometimes lesser story I have chosen to live at that time.
Well, there is only one affirmation that really matters. One reality worth living for. On Kingdom deserving the focus of my life, one relationship that brings love, peace, life and hope. And it is God (v.6). I don’t have to worry about what others may think, because living with God, or rather Him with me, I have all I need to survive the day.
Q: Does relationship with God really make that much difference to you? Leave a comment and tell us what you think.