Listen to my take on the whole “Lent” thing @The Dana Hanson Show
Faith in real life
Self-worship affects every part of us. The final impact is on everything we are. The soul, that holds it all together, is in ruin. When we mistake ourselves for God, then God becomes meaningless or an enemy. We cannot want him. If we work against God in every part our being, we become the kind of people who cannot want God.
Jesus speaks about hell often. “Hell” is to be separated from the presence of God forever. When you have soul ruin, hell is the destination. It is not so much God sends people to hell. In many ways, hell becomes a choice. It is the logical destination for those who cannot want God. We are given the choice of being in relationship with God and if we choose to turn away, God honors that. He will never force himself on us.
Often people will speak of death-bed conversions where someone denies God all their life, and before they die, they repent and seek him. Is this authentic? That person may have been seeking all along and it just finally surfaced in the light of day, so, yes, I think it is possible.
Yet, probable? No, not likely. If life away from God is the life we are living, being with God is not an option that is within our realm of choice. God has an infinitely flexible will; we do not. No one “just misses out” of heaven. Life without God is a constant choice that keeps a person focused in a destructive direction. In the end, God is faithful to our choices.
To paraphrase a thought from C.S. Lewis, Instead of one who trusts saying, “Thy will be done,” God says to the person in soul ruin, “Thy will be done.”
“Spending so much emotional energy on those who don’t want God, results in less focus and energy reaching out to those who do.” Comment.
Living With a Ruined Heart
“Acting on belief that is based on evidence” is a good definition of faith. When an atheist claims there is no God, the belief is not based on a solid body of evidence. There is so much evidence to the contrary, it may be the atheist has more “blind faith” than faith.
Romans 1:20 (NLT)
From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God.
Today, we are able to see way more of “earth and sky and all that God made.” The evidence for design in the universe- and the big bang evidence for space, time, energy and matter being created simultaneously- all point to to a likely conclusion that there is a causative, extra-dimensional agency. This doesn’t specifically warrant this being the God of the Bible, but there is other evidence for that being the case. Let’s just consider a “god” in general.
Why do a small minority of people not trust there is a god? Why do so many more people act as if there is no god? The challenge is, if God exists then God must somehow be in charge. If God is in charge then guess what? We’re not.
The path of ruin begins with the heart. Choices are made as if there is no God. These choices affect all the other parts of our lives. We wish to be in charge and if God exists we can’t logically hold to that viewpoint. So we begin to deceive ourselves in one of two ways. We either choose to believe there is no God, or we act as if there is no God. Either way we lose. This is why unhealthy behavior by atheists and by people who identify as Christian can look very similar. One ignores the consequences of there being a God, and the other acts as if God doesn’t care. If we keep choosing to ignore God, we keep ignoring the blessings God has in store for us. When our hearts are turned in another direction, we cannot be our best, true selves.
Look for evidence of God today.
First in a series on transformation from the inside out. This is a book based on the teachings of Dallas Willard, in particular from Renovation of the Heart. Start here, be open to the Holy Spirit, and get ready to go!
We are designed to be in relationship with Jesus. The Christian life is not a set of rules and regulations. The Bible is not a rulebook, but a description of this way of life. We do not have a list of laws that we follow to become worthy of attention from God. To grow in faith, we live the life we are designed to live, and we are transformed from the inside out.
This is the key. Inside out. Not a flurry of activities that make us acceptable to receive God’s love. God already loves us and we are open to being changed from the inside out.
We don’t do good things to please God. We become the kind of persons who can do good things naturally because we are being transformed. It is out of the “becoming” that the “doing” follows.
(Note: Each day you will have the chance to think deeply or do something. Why not?)
What is the most important class you have ever taken? Why was it so key?
The living water of the Holy Spirit flows through us.
How do we get unclogged so He can do that?