America’s faith lite
– Greg Laurie – and
I don’t think dogs sit around and ponder the meaning of life, do you? Imagine a dog wondering, Why am I here? Why do I exist? I’ve tried to find fulfillment in life by chasing cats. …
No, they just lie around in the yard, soak up the rays and probably think about their next meal. Why? Because they were not created in the image of God. But you and I were, which is a trait unique to human beings. We are not evolved from animals, as some would assert. Rather, we were created by God in his very image.
Deep inside every man, woman, boy and girl, there is a sense that there has to be more to life than this, a sense of some meaning, purpose, or significance to life. In fact, I believe that is why many people today, especially teens and young adults, commit suicide. They feel hopeless. They don’t know what they are living for. They don’t know what their life is all about.
Perhaps they have correctly concluded that there is nothing in this world that can fill the hole in the human soul. No sexual experience will, no drug will, no relationship will. No amount of success or possessions will. There is always something inside that says there is more to life than this. What they don’t realize is that the hole in their hearts is actually a drive to know the God who made them.
But before we can truly know God, we must first know about God. Learning about God is known as theology, which is a word that frightens some people. In fact, I have heard people say, "I am not into theology. I just love Jesus." That may sound good, but it is a dangerous statement, because they might end up believing the wrong thing, and even loving the "wrong Jesus." We need to know about God before we can effectively know God.
C. S. Lewis warned, "If you do not listen to theology, that will not mean that you have no ideas about God. It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones." This is what we need to be careful of: that we do not have the wrong ideas about God. Morality is based on spirituality. Spirituality is based on a relationship with God. If we don’t know God, hence, knowing what life is about and what our purpose is, then we won’t know right from wrong.
Yet in this postmodern age, we have appointed ourselves as the moral center of the universe. Instead of God telling us what is right and wrong, we are determining this for ourselves. And I believe that, to a large degree, the problems in our culture can be directly traced to this moral relativism, this lack of absolutes. We have all heard statements along the lines of "What is true for you is not necessarily true for me," or "No culture is better or worse than another." Then there is this little nugget from the 1960s: "If it feels good, do it." People today would say you can believe whatever truth you want, but what is important is that you respect their truth and they will in turn respect yours.
This is why we live in such a crazy culture. People do not have a moral compass. And the reason they do not have a moral compass is because they do not have a relationship with God. Wrong seems to be right and right seems to be wrong. The words of the prophet Isaiah are just as relevant to our culture as they were when he originally gave them: "What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter" (Isaiah 5:20 NLT).
I read a statistic recently that I found quite alarming: According to one survey, 67 percent of Americans believe there is no such thing as absolute truth. Some would say, "What’s the big deal? It doesn’t matter if you believe in absolute truth." Of course it does. If we don’t, the result would be chaos.
What if we took the same principle that many people apply toward God and applied it toward driving? What if some people believed that stoplights are there to entertain us and, therefore, not really necessary, while others ignored those little dotted lines in the street because they are so irritating? What we would have is mayhem, chaos and carnage. We all can agree that there are absolute rules we must abide by when it comes to driving – if we want to stay alive, that is.
Yet many are only interested in a relationship with God if it is on their terms. Essentially, they want to remake God in their own image. As Voltaire said, "If God has made us in his image, we have returned him the favor."
We are incurably religious, yet at the same time, we want a deity that we can control. You might say that we are looking for a user-friendly God. We want faith lite and a do-it-yourself spirituality. That is what many people are following today. They want to find a god that goes along with the lifestyle they have chosen. But that god will not be able to save them in the end.
Everyone believes in something and lives for something. But the stability and the security that we desire in life can only be found in knowing God – and in walking with him.