“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
2 Timothy, 3:12 NIV
Today, I sat down to write and this is what came out.
It seems to be related to a theme I’m beginning to notice in my own life and I guess I needed to vent and process it a little. Good thing that’s what this blog is for :)
‘If you don’t believe in God, why do you bother to make the distinction that I am now a Christian while you are still a Jew?
If you don’t believe in God, what difference does it make?
If you don’t believe in God, how does my faith (or any faith for that matter) affect you?
Does it bother you that I have chosen to hold myself to a higher standard?
Does it bother you that I have chosen humility over arrogance, ethics over corruption, conscience over immorality, discipline over self-indulgence, maturity over incompetence, wisdom over ignorance?
If you don’t believe in God, why is my faith so threatening to you?
I say “threatening” because you are hostile and you haven’t given me a good, rational reason for your discomfort.
You just don’t like it.
It’s inconvenient for you.
Instead of being curious and inquisitive in an effort to learn more about my beliefs and my journey, you prefer to avoid the topic altogether or you become impatient or even mock me and my faith. You haven’t made any attempt to understand me or my perspective, nor have you taken any time to think deeply about your own beliefs or how they came to be.
Don’t you understand that my maturing into a better version of myself will not only benefit me but others, as well?
Do you think this path is an easy one?
Because I assure you, it is not.
It requires an ongoing commitment and constant discipline and that is not a choice one makes frivolously.
“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to” Luke 13:24
Did you stop to ask yourself why a person would make such a commitment? Do you ever wonder (or do you even care) what it is that motivates me or inspires me?
You feel oppressed, misunderstood and you dislike authority. You point the finger at me because you have no compass, no guidance and no accountability to anything other than yourself.
Does the fact that I do unsettle you?
If you don’t believe in God, or even know what you believe in, how are you in a position to judge what I believe?
Is it because I’m not ashamed to speak openly about my faith in God or that Jesus is God?
Is it because my willingness to share my experience forces you to confront your own beliefs or lack thereof?’
I get that, actually…
Because these days, there is so much confusion and deception when it comes to organized religion. I get why people would choose Atheism or New-Age Spirituality if they thought “religion” was the only alternative. I totally get that.
I was one of those people!
In fact, in my many conversations about this topic (and I seem to find myself having a lot of them), the main issue that typically initiates people’s skepticism about my faith is based in their misguided assumption that a belief in Jesus Christ automatically translates to subscribing to the Christian “religion”.
I know this may come as a surprise to many people but they are not the same thing.
Indeed, there are elements which are common to both but the simplest way I have found to explain it is that Christian faith is based on developing a serious, personal relationship with God/Jesus/The Holy Spirit and committing yourself to following the Word of God.
The way to do this is through:
- Reading and studying the Word of God through scripture (Old & New Testaments)
- Receiving divine impartation (God speaking His wisdom through the scripture)
- Witnessing, first hand how God changes your heart in the process
And the last part is really a miracle which is only possible if you step out of your comfort zone and try. The more you know Him, the more you love Him and the more you love Him the more you want to know Him.
It’s just as simple as that.
These days, people are fed up with “religion’ and rightly so. Nobody wants to be told what to do within a structural hierarchy which is confused or ignorant, at best and violates our human rights, at worst. In an effort to feel a sense autonomy, we reject what we identify as ‘religion’ but then blindly subscribe to other societal “norms”, beliefs or traditions without even realizing (or taking the time to learn about) what they are based on or what their underlying agenda is. For instance, I’ll bet a lot of people don’t know that most modern organized religions and New Age ‘Spirituality’ are rooted in ancient pagan/occultic/satanic beliefs and practices.
But don’t take my word for it. Do some digging and learn for yourself.
We can be naive and tell ourselves that things are different now and these beliefs may have started there but have evolved for the better but, the truth is, our society is becoming darker and scarier by the minute and I believe that we can no longer afford to ignore the possibility that our values, beliefs, and norms are in dire need of some heavy re-evaluation.
These days, there is so much confusion, sensitivity, and exhaustion around the topic of religion that few people are willing to admit (even to themselves) their faith in God.
These days, people will happily admit to believing in a “higher power” and they call it other things, like “Universe”, “Life Force” or “Shakti” but rarely do they call it God.
Unfortunately, in our modern, secular society, we have become “anti-God” and many of us don’t even know why. For those who do have an answer for that, it’s often because of a negative experience with… you guessed it… organized religion.
But organized religion is not God.
It’s time to put an end to our confusion and misguided judgment.
It’s time to stop pointing the finger at other people’s beliefs and behaviors and examine our own.
It’s time to start asking ourselves some tough questions about what we believe and why.
It’s time we invested some quality time into identifying and re-defining our core values which are not based on materialism and selfishness but on altruism and connection.
It’s time to stop resisting the reality that, as a society, we need to put leading honorable, virtuous and disciplined lives at the top of our priority list.
Not easy… but then, nothing worthwhile ever is.