Saturday, 18 March 2017

The Fool Says in His Heart, "There is No God."

There is a story about an atheist minding his own business whilst standing on the shore and looking out to sea. He is approached by a man who gives him a Gospel tract. Glancing at it, the atheist becomes angry, tears up the tract and throws it at the by now slightly fearful evangelist. He stamps on the pieces on the ground, curses and then storms off, ranting about the encounter. Arriving home, he removes his jacket and a tiny remnant of the shredded paper falls to the floor. He picks it up and reads the single word “God,” on one side. Flipping it over he reads “eternity” on the other. He has a sleepless night as the two words turn over and over in his mind. The next day he arises early and humbly heads out in search of the evangelist…

The fool says in his heart, there is no God.

You attend a family gathering or social function when the subject of religion comes up. Some slink away, others express loud opinions about the damage religion has done to the world, humanity in general or even more specifically to themselves. But, most people just look down awkwardly, they feel uncomfortable and hope for a swift subject change—the two unmentionables in polite company, politics and religion.

The fool says in his heart, there is no God.

A woman takes a walk in the country. She breathes the fresh air and feels the warmth of the sun. She looks up at the blue cloudless sky. She observes the beauty of the trees and mountains in the distance. She smells the fragrance of the flowers. She sees the animals in the fields. She hears the birds singing. She feels grateful for the beauty of the day, her surroundings, and the “accident” that brought her into existence. 

The fool says in his heart, there is no God.

You wake up excited. You are taking your family on the trip of a lifetime. The long hours at work have finally paid off and you can get away for two whole weeks. Your kids can go to the movies, shopping malls and whatever else it is that they want to do. You refuse to think about the build-up of work that will inevitably be waiting for you on your return. You have been planning this trip for nearly the whole year and looking forward to it for just as long. In recent months, the details have basically consumed your life and taken over.  You can finally relax, but you wonder, when did life get so busy?

The fool says in his heart, there is no God.

These scenarios are representative of the lives of many people who claim not to believe in God. They deny Him through anger, avoidance, assumed ignorance or by filling their lives with distractions and busyness. They give us insight into the human heart which focuses on ourselves rather than the God who created us.

The first man becomes angry when he is approached by someone who forces him to think about that which he has been ignoring. He is not angry with the person themselves, although it may appear that way, he is actually angry with God—a God who He claims doesn’t exist. This man is proud and refuses to acknowledge God until confronted with the reality of his situation here on earth. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16 vs 18)

The social gathering where someone mentions the unmentionable and everyone feels awkward. They don’t want to face the implications of there being a holy God due to their many sins. They bury their heads in the sand and feel safe with others who do the same. But, judgement day will not be a group activity, “So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.” (Romans 14 v 12)

Avoidance seems like a sensible option—no conflict or emotional turmoil. However, Psalm 139 vs 1-3 reminds us that we cannot hide from, ignore or avoid God, “O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.” If that isn’t sufficient, remember what happened to Jonah?

The lady who enjoys and is amazed by all that God has created but chooses to believe the lies of evolution despite knowing the truth in her heart. “For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1 vs 20)

Finally, we have the distractions of this life—busyness, materialism, relationships. Basically, anything that consumes our minds and hearts and takes the place of God in our lives. “Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God's place in your hearts.” (1 John 5 vs 21)
Anything that stops us thinking about the meaning of life or our purpose here and instead has us dealing with secondary matters or living for the moment. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2 vs 15-17)

Why do we become angry with someone who genuinely wants to help us? Why do we fear talking about faith or religion? Why would we rather believe a nonsensical version of how we came to be here than the truth? Why do we keep ourselves so busy in the here and now rather than focusing on eternity? 

Why do we deny what we know in our hearts to be true?

What if God exists and we will one day stand before Him? What if the Bible is true and we are accountable for our sin? Would we get angry with, ignore, avoid or distract ourselves from any other issue of such significance? 

Surely it’s time to seriously think about the meaning and purpose of our existence. To learn the truth about our lives here on earth and thus resolve the ongoing struggle in our hearts. Surely this issue is important enough to take time over and consider in detail.

God created us with an innate and natural desire to be in a relationship with Him. It is sin that keeps us at a distance. God loved us so much that He sent His Son Jesus to die for our sin on a cross so that we can spend eternity in heaven with Him. It’s time to get right with God and prepare for eternity.

Psalm 14 vs 1-3
“The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, any who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.”

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