Taking Inventory

I’m reading Francis Chan’s best-selling book “Crazy Love” with a few guys from our congregation.  The author’s point is that God is so great and we are so small and sinful, which makes it crazy, incomprehensible, even shocking that God would love us and how He loves us.  The obvious application ( at least to me ) is what Paul told the Corinthians – “the love of Christ compels us”, and what John wrote in his first epistle – “we love Him because He first loved us”.

Now, this blog is not meant to be a review or critique of the book.  I only want to share one of his statements with the hope that it will impact you as it did me.  The statement was made within a section which listed characteristics of lukewarm people.  His specific point was that lukewarm people do not live by faith.  To further explain what he meant he said this – “their lives wouldn’t look much different if they suddenly stopped believing in God.”  Up until then I had been breezing through that chapter, not paying much attention, not really expecting to see anything “new”.  But for some reason that statement stopped me in my tracks, and it was almost like someone asked me out loud, “would your life look much different if you suddenly stopped believing in God?”  The knee-jerk, defensive reaction of every professing Christian would be, “Well, sure it would!”  But would it really?

Think about it.  How much does your belief in God really impact your daily life: how you do your job, how you spend your non-work time, what you watch on TV, how you spend your money, how you interact with your neighbors and strangers and the poor, what your conversations sound like, what you get excited about, how you raise your kids, what you do for vacation, how you treat your spouse, even how you spend the Lord’s Day?  For many professing Christians, if they stopped believing in God today, the only thing that would really change about their lives is where they are for a couple of hours on Sunday mornings.  Most areas of their lives would not change at all. Honestly, we do most of what we do for reasons other than God.  We work hard because that’s how we were raised, or to get a raise.  We treat our wife well because “if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”, and if we scratch her back she’ll scratch ours.  Our greatest goals for our kids are for them to stay out of trouble and get good grades. We help those who deserve our help, and only out of our “extra”.  You see, most of the things we do and why we do them could be done by atheists in the same ways and for the same reasons.

But shouldn’t the opposite be true?  Shouldn’t our belief in and appreciation for God radically impact every facet of our lives?  Shouldn’t our belief in God cause us to work as hard as we can at all times, never stealing time, doing even what we’re not required to do, helping co-workers to do their jobs well, having a gracious/grateful attitude toward our employers?  Shouldn’t our belief in God drive us to use our spare time to learn more about Christ and to serve others?  Shouldn’t our belief in God dictate what we do with our money, supporting the local church, sending out missionaries, meeting the needs of the poor, rescuing orphans and widows in need, even sacrificing to do it?  Shouldn’t our belief in God flavor all of our conversations, not just eliminating all cursing, but speaking what is true, pure, righteous, edifying, and Christ-centered?  Shouldn’t our belief in God produce the desire to hear as much biblical teaching as possible and be with the body of Christ as much as possible on the Lords’ Day?  If our belief in God was impacting our lives in these ways, we would look radically different if we stopped believing in Him today.

So let’s turn the question around to make it clearer.  How does your belief in God shape your life?  What impact does your belief in God really have on where you work, how you do your job, how you spend your money, how you use your spare time, how you treat your wife, how you raise your children, how you speak to people, how you treat strangers, what you do for the poor, what you watch on TV, what you find funny, what you do on the rest of the Lord’s Day, how you deal with sickness, how you choose your friends, etc…Does the evidence convict you of being lukewarm or cold or hot concerning the God you claim to love?  The facts don’t lie.  Take inventory and respond accordingly.