“To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.” – Thomas Paine
Imagine embarking on a great adventure into a land previously unexplored by men from the ‘civilized’ world. You and your team have been walking for several days through seemingly never-ending forests. The nightly ritual of having to sharpen your machete after hacking your way through the dense undergrowth the whole day robs you of much-needed sleep, but you have no choice. At any rate, after a couple more days of the harrowing task of moving forward, you encounter a tribe of primitive forest dwellers completely cut off from the modern conveniences that we take for granted.
Fast forward twelve months later, namely, long enough to learn how to communicate with them. You explain to them about an amazing invention known as a ‘television’ that can actually transmit real images (even in real time!) on its screen. You extol its virtues as well as its vices. The people in the tribe listen with wonder to your explanation. Some have incredulous looks on their faces, while others are skeptical or downright defiant in not wanting to believe that such a device actually exists.
However, choosing not to believe in its actual existence is certainly the right of any free-thinking person, but that does NOT affect the reality of its existence. It still exists regardless of one’s approach and acceptance or rejection of it.
Out of sight, out of mind is misleading. Just because we don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not real. ‘Doubting’ Thomas was afforded the luxury of being able to literally touch the nail wounds on The Hands of Jesus after not believing that the other disciples had met with The Lord after His Resurrection. Jesus replied that blessed are those who haven’t seen (in the physical realm) yet believe.
Faith is a gift from God that requires a humble heart. Faith doesn’t just happen by itself, but it’s usually a process. What drives us to the realization that we are insufficient in and of ourselves? (That alone is a gift!) What’s that LACK that eats away at us or that emptiness that constantly questions “there’s got to be something more than this ever-present reality that I experience day in, day out? Why am I left feeling dissatisfied? Why am I even here? Where does that conviction that maybe I’m doing something wrong come from?
Every single one of us was created to not only know God, but to also have a personal love relationship with Him in Christ Jesus. We were NOT created to be ‘religious’ and go through the motions, having an adulterous heart towards God due to being too caught up in the titillations of this fallen world. We were born to worship and adore Him – a direct result of the abundant life Jesus promises those who love and follow him (John 10:10).
Knowing God is the true meaning of life…and nothing else…because Knowing God IS life. ’Religious’ and ‘Religion’ are tantamount to worshipping Satan because they have NOTHING in common with worshipping The Only True God in Spirit and in Truth. Religion is all about ME ME ME. “God, look how great I am. I went to church 100 times this week!” Sorry, God is NOT impressed because the emphasis is still on self, stuck in sin.
“For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are his offspring’” (Acts 17:28, ESV).
Jesus is brutally honest in John 3:3 when talking to Nicodemus, a Pharisee obviously being ‘chased’ by The Holy Spirit. This man’s heart was in the ‘right’ place but he still needed directions. He didn’t have the right address yet. He sensed that Jesus could give it to him:
“Jesus answered him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God’” (John 3:3).
Being born again is from God; it’s the direct Intervention of God into a person’s life (heart), but any given individual has to set aside their foolish human pride and say yes to God’s FREE GIFT of Forgiveness. God will force Himself on no one, but He DOES know how to be quite Convincing for our own good! It is God Himself through The Holy Spirit that enables us to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth:
“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24).
But for the hard-hearted crowd, there’s this:
“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things” (Romans 1:19-23).
You might not believe. You might think it’s all religious nonsense, yet that God-shaped void inside you lies empty and dormant and incessantly tugs at your heartstrings. You can’t shirk it no matter how hard you try. Immersing it with your worldly passions won’t work. Immersing yourself in memories of being an altar boy and rote prayers taught that gave you an inkling of piety but still left you worldly won’t work. Sometimes we long for the innocence of childhood and those times our parents ‘dragged’ us to church (for our own good!). Growing up with a God ‘consciousness’ was the foundation I had. I always believed in God and somehow knew that Jesus was someone important.
Others may have had a completely different experience, but God wishes that no man perish. It’s the heartburn that there’s no medicine for in this world. The only cure is Jesus and faith in What He did for us on The Cross – He died for us and bought us with His Own Blood. If any of this doesn’t make any sense to you, ask God to show you His Truth. He will if you ask in humility before Him.
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God” (John 3:17-21).
To those who might think that I think I’m better than they are because of all this crazy Jesus ‘stuff,’ I’m not. I’m ‘just’ forgiven (I love You, Jesus! Thank you!). Jesus freak? ABSOLUTELY! He IS mine and I am His. None of us deserves such Amazing Grace. I believe to have found the Oasis (Jesus = The Living Water). I’m only trying to tell others how to find it because failure to do so will have hellish eternal consequences.
It doesn’t matter what label you wear: Catholic, Baptist, Jewish, Muslim… whatever – YOU need Jesus because He’s The Absolutely ONLY One Who can save us from our sins and from ourselves.