== Love God == Delight in Light ==

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Two Things For Christians To Be Sure Of

It seems to me that Christianity is becoming more and more marginalised in Western culture. This means that we are more and more likely to be the target of opposition and/or persecution.

One result of this is that people who see themselves as Christians, but are "nominal" or "half-hearted" about it, are more likely to be forced to make a decision one way or the other - will I stand up for Jesus in spite of opposition, or will I just follow whatever happens to be popular at the moment?

One possible way to "test" whether I am "nominal" or not is to consider two key things:
  1. Do I really believe in God?
  2. Do I have a genuine love for God?
To answer the first of these, think about this: when someone challenges your belief, or presents something that could be considered to be contrary evidence, how do you react? If you react defensively or emotionally, then you should check whether your belief is really founded on a "wish" rather than on solid evidence. Are you genuinely interested in seeking truth, or are you just wanting to protect your belief?

I recommend that you embrace your doubts, investigate other points of view and face the possibility that your cherished beliefs may be wrong. Then you can come out the other side with a much stronger belief that is based on fact rather than on wishing.

To answer the second, consider your attitude towards chocolate (or, if you are one or the few people who doesn't like chocolate, something else that you do like/love). How often do you make excuses to avoid "having to" eat a piece of chocolate? Or do you rather (since chocolate is not really that good for you) make excuses or rationalisations that allow you to eat more of it? Similarly, if there is someone that you really like and love, do you make excuses so you can avoid spending time with them? Or do you look forward to, and seek out, opportunities to be with them?

What about your relationship with God - do you make excuses to avoid interacting with Him? Are you thankful if something comes up that prevents you from attending church meetings?

If so, maybe you don't really love God. If that is the case, then I recommend that you prayerfully focus on learning how to develop a love relationship with Him (rather than one that is based on a sense of duty or guilt). This book that I wrote a while back has some ideas for how to develop a relationship with God that is based on love: Would You Like To Sin More And Still Get To Heaven - but there are also many other resources and people around who will be able to help you develop that kind of relationship with Him.

So in summary, look at yourself and consider the strength of your belief in, and love for, God. If both are strong, you will have a strong foundation on, and connection to, the One who can carry you through any opposition that may come your way. If they are weak, then maybe you should ask God to help you do something about them - after all, failure to do so could have eternal consequences.

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