“where am I?”, “Am I a Christian indeed?” These and many more were the questions that came up in my mind after a long talk with a friend who had become an atheist a couple of years ago. Last week, we talked about how Christians are helping atheists proof there is no God. This article is a continuation of last week’s post.
As stated in the previous article, atheism is still alien to a lot of us, we will rather believe that atheists are in movies, or better still, in America and England, or which normal African will believe there is no God? But truth be told, atheists are here among us, they are not necessarily the morally depraved people, no, that will be an assumption, as a matter of fact, most atheists are moralists as well as humanists, so don’t think you will be able to identify an atheist through his actions or words, especially when you are looking from a distance.
That the number of atheists is growing by the day is not the most disturbing, the most disturbing thing, however, is the growing number of potential atheists In our churches today. Yes! There are many potential and full-blown atheists in the church, but just that they are unaware of the condition of their heart. Moreover, there are those who are Christians for real but are not aware that their current lifestyle prepares them for atheism. This is the crux of this post, to challenge you to check your heart and see if you have been building on a rock or ordinary sand.
1. You Inherited Christianity: A long time ago, the church is a gathering of believers, those who had consciously confessed Jesus as Lord and Savior, those who made Jesus their master and model. Then in Antioch, after the people watched their way of life closely, they confessed that these ones must be little Christs. But in our generation, we inherit Christianity, it is not hard to see a family that has been Christians for ages, In such families, being a Christian is a birth inheritance and not a choice. You become a Christian before you know your own name, it is part of being born in the family. It is even worse if the family is the very religious type because you get to talk, behave, and dress like a Christian without knowing who Christ is.
But is that all it means to be a Christian? Being a real Christian begins with an encounter that leads to surrender. Many youths in the church today are there out of family influence, following norms and traditions. The implication is that most grow into adulthood questioning the basic tenets of the faith, especially the curious ones. Some pray and attend services their whole life without knowing why, so what happens when trouble comes? When events occur that challenge all the teachings they have been listening to? They know somethings in the head but there is no LIFE. Such a person can be easily swept by the tide of knowledge and doubts about God’s existence.
2. When you refuse to grow: For faith cometh by hearing, notice it is a continuous tense? Not faith comes by what is heard. Lots of Christians become born again and that is the end, no discipleship, no growth. All that matters is to go to church, drop offerings, or even be a worker in the church, nothing more. Our Christian life is like a tree, the day of planting is the day we become born again, but how useful is a tree that remains in the soil, refusing to grow? There will always be times of testing and temptations, you’ve received the word? Great! But is the devil happy? Never. For a Christian who refuses to grow, breaking you is not a hard thing to do. In the book of Daniel chapter 11 from verse 30, the prophet wrote about a strong wave of deception that will occur at the time of the fulfilment of the prophecy, but however, some people will escape this deception, “With flattery he will corrupt those who have the covenant, but the people who KNOW their God will firmly resist him. (Daniel 11:32)” Only the people who really know their God, who is growing in knowledge and grace will be able to resist him, so where do you stand? Are you growing? Are you making efforts to know your God?
3. You are more religious than spiritual: Religion can be hard, especially with it different tenet, laws, and principles, and it can be easy. If what religion means to you is just identity, something to believe in, what a ease? But either religion is easy or hard for you, if all Christianity means to you is a mere religion, then you may be few steps away from atheism. Religious folks believe in ceremonies, traditions and norms, but being a Christian is much more deeper than that. It is more than performing some daily prayer rituals, fasting and giving alms. Being a real Christian is an experience that transforms a man from within, then flowing to the surface. But religion seeks to transform a man from the outside.
Before the people of Antioch called those early believers Christians, they must have seen something spectacular in them, something that is not in the lives of the deeply religious folks they were seeing around.
Religion can be stressful, filling your mind with questions and doubt. But Christianity is a way of life, it is a state of spirituality, aligning your spirit with the Spirit of God, Righteousness is gifted, not earned. Being spiritual bring you into contact with the undeniable power of God thereby solidifying your faith. This is a challenge for you to move away from merely possessing a form of godliness to the state of experiencing His power. Are you a Christian by the way of life or just by religion?
4. Doubting The Very Word Of God: We may question words of men, doubt it even, but when you are a Christian and you are still constantly doubting the truth and integrity of the scripture, there is a problem. For example, the scripture says thou shall not kill, that, you accept, thou shall not covet after what belongs to your neighbour, oh! Fair enough, it also says thou shall not commit adultery or fornication, and you are like, “why will God give me sexual urge when it is a sin to express it”, concluding that that commandment is harsh and therefore unrealistic. So in your case, you aren’t falling into fornication, you are living in it. It may sound extreme, but becoming an atheist will be quite easy for you. It won’t be long to convince yourself that God is harsh and wicked, moreover, believing that God doesn’t exist won’t be hard, why? You’ve rejected His very word, how then do you intend to know him, to grow in him, and survive when trouble comes?
To him that think that he is standing, let him watch lest he falls, some atheists of today were the great Christians of yesterday, you and I aren’t better. May God continue to uphold us in his grace. Shalom.