Posted by: 15shekels | January 3, 2011

Discover the Meaning of Life in Three Easy Steps!

We have lost our patience.

In a world of technology, take-out, watch instantly and one-click shopping, we find and get what we want within the span of a breath. If what we want is not available, we choose to want something else.

(I recognize the irony that blogs are a response to this phenomenon and are supposed to provide quick and easy material. I recognize the further irony that since my blog entries are too long, you may not finish this post. But anyway:)

Our lack of patience is true for choices of cuisine, clothes, entertainment, sex partners and now, religion.

Relativism fits nicely within an instant gratification culture because it can be used to justify any choice. Certain eastern religions can be fit into the culture by being broken down into ten easy steps to enlightenment or daily meditation techniques guaranteed to reduce stress. Some Christian teachers have tried to contort Christianity to fit within it as well by presenting the concrete benefits of prayer or selling a life that will be full of purpose and happiness.

It is a culture that has no time for an invisible, eternal God who works in mysterious ways.

courtesy of Writer's First Aid Blog

Many friends have told me that they would believe in God if he gave them a sign or proved his existence to them. One friend said, “I told him if he is real to show himself to me. I’m still waiting.”

Asking God to reveal himself to you personally is wonderful, and for some people there will be an immediate sign or some form of assurance. But to send out such a request and then return to daily life without any further inquiry is to cheat oneself, and to be foolishly impatient.

It is to ignore the fact that God has revealed himself in ways that are accessible to each of us—through Jesus, through the Bible, and through the lives of other Christians. Exploring this evidence takes time and energy, and many will choose to buy a book on meditation for dummies instead. But I would challenge you to consider the possibility that there is absolute truth, and that there is enough of a possibility that Christianity is true that it is worth really looking at the evidence, even if it takes some time.

So, in blog-friendly bullet points, a few suggestions:

1. Read about Jesus: God revealed himself most powerfully when he was born in a human body and walked among us, teaching, healing, making friends, making enemies, and talking a lot about salvation, heaven, life, death and a lot of other important things. Luckily for us, four different men who either knew Jesus personally or knew his friends wrote accounts of his life, death and resurrection. These four accounts can be found in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John at the beginning of the New Testament of the Bible. I recommend the New International Version or the English Standard Version. The full text of either version can be found at biblegateway.com, for those who do not have the patience to buy a Bible.

*Note—almost no modern historian denies that Jesus was a real person who lived, taught, stirred up controversy, was brutally killed, and was rumored to have later been seen alive. For historical corroboration from non-Christians, read chapter 5 of Josh McDowell’s book, “The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict.”

2. Read the rest of the Bible: No, it’s not a quick read. But think of it this way—even if you get to the end and decide you don’t believe it, you will now catch hundreds of new references in culture and art. The Bible is the story of God’s interactions with humanity, and as such, it tells us a lot about him (and a lot about us). I recommend starting with the above-mentioned gospels and continuing through the New Testament first. Once you have read about Jesus and the birth of the church, the Old Testament makes a lot more sense. All of the references to a coming messiah and salvation are no longer cryptic but amazingly predictive and powerful.

3. Hear from people who know God personally: There are two ways to do this: reading books about the faith and talking to Christians. Different books serve different purposes:

-For the person seeking an intelligent overview of the faith and responses to common objections to it: The Reason for God, by Tim Keller

-For the person who is intimidated by God or the church, or feels unwelcome or unloved: Ragamuffin Gospel, by Brennan Manning

-For the person who wants concrete evidence that the Bible is reliable, and that Christianity is historically and scientifically sound: The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel

-For a well-written and enjoyable outline of Christianity by the man who brought you the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis

Or, if you know someone who is a Christian, ask him how he came to believe that God is real and that Jesus is the source of life. For me, I read some of the above books and a little bit of the Bible, and then invited God into my life. But at that point it was a leap of faith. It has been in the four years after that day that I have grown absolutely sure that it is true. I have seen God work powerfully in my life and in the lives of others, and have experienced his love in ways that are undeniable. Ask me, or someone else, to share some of those ways with you. Ask us about the Holy Spirit. When God lives in you, you certainly get to know him a lot better.

So, if you are waiting for a sign that God is real, look into some of the evidence while you wait. It may take some time, but it will lead you to the greatest love you have ever known. And really—who has heard of an epic love story in which the characters fall in love just because it’s convenient and they didn’t want to wait for someone else?

“‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,'” declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity.” -Jeremiah 29:13-14

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Responses

  1. Great post including some of my favorite books! The format is totally ironic, as I am commenting on this post via my blackberry. Here’s to digging deep into the story of God in 2011

  2. Adam- I’m glad you enjoyed the post! Hope you are doing great!


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