Life without Obligations

navy-pierIf you believe God exists, then you most likely would say he matters. Certainly the one who created the world, created us, rules the world, and awaits us after we die matters. The question, though, is whether we live as if God matters. Many people say God matters, but they live as practical atheists. That is, they live as though God did not exist. If you observe their lives, not knowing what they think and feel but seeing only what they do and say, you would see little difference between them and an unbeliever. They say God matters but they don’t live like it.

If we truly believe God exists, certain things must follow. We are obligated to worship him and give thanks for his kindnesses. We are obligated to learn and obey his commands, not do just what we think is right. We are obligated to defer to his will in moral choices. We are obligated to help the weak and needy. We are obligated to seek him rather than ignore him, to care about him and what matters to him rather than be indifferent. We are obligated to unite with like-minded believers.

farris-wheelIf we don’t fulfill our obligations to God, what does that say about us? Possibly it says we have other priorities more important to us. Possibly it says we are angry toward him about situations in our life or in the world, and so we want to keep our distance as a kind of passive hostility. Possibly we don’t like the way other believers or religious organizations act, so we keep our distance from them and maintain a private faith. Possibly, knowing the people around us have a negative attitude toward believers, we feel the need to keep our religious beliefs secret and follow the crowd.

Whatever the reason, saying God matters while living as though he does not matter is a major problem for the one who matters most. God is not pleased if we merely affirm he exists. He is not pleased with merely secret faith. If our words and actions conflict, he cares most about our actions. He does not accept being treated as unimportant, as a lesser priority. He does not accept if we love the world more than we love him. God expects that we act as though he matters more than anything or anyone, because he does matter more. Nothing matters more than God, and when we live like that is true then he helps us work out all the other things in life that matter in a way best for everyone.

pleasure-boatsIf God matters, then what matters to God must matter to us. The Bible says that the thing that matters more than anything else to God is what you do with his dear Son Jesus Christ. God the Father loves his Son. The Father gave his Son to suffer, shed his blood, and die for our sins so that we can be forgiven and become God’s children. Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to the right hand of God where he now rules as Lord of heaven and earth. We should not let another day go by in which we ignore or avoid him. The Bible says if we believe God matters, we start to act that way by following Jesus Christ.

To learn more about how to live as though God matters, come this Sunday to worship with Lake Shore Church.