One of the reasons I continue to be a follower of Jesus Christ is because the call God has placed on my life is a call to purpose. Just as Jesus called His first disciples away from fishing to become fishers of men (Matthew 4:19), we are called to do good works (Ephesians 2:10). Calling isn’t just about believing certain things and hold on to core doctrines but it is about how we live life. Ultimately God has called us to make a difference in our world and at the very least this difference is about meeting the basic needs of people (Matthew 25:31-46). The apparent fact that many American Christians don’t live their lives this way doesn’t mean that we haven’t been called to be agents of change and the bringers of good in this world. The follower of Jesus is to make a positive difference in our families, communities, countries, and in our world. The body of Christ, the Church, is to show God’s love to the world.
Consider for a moment the evangelical atheist. To what does he/she call people? They call people away from God but what do the offer in His place? Do they believe that without God that this world will be a better place? If so what evidence do they have to support that belief? Where will the appeal to be good and loving come from when the author of good and love is removed?
Here is what I consider to be the fatal flaw of atheism: it cannot call people to live for a greater cause than self. This is not to say that many atheists don’t live to something greater than themselves. It is to say that they don’t have any means to call other people to live to a cause greater than themselves. They cannot appeal to any authority greater than their own belief of right and wrong in order to encourage people to do good. If you ask me that is very shaky ground to be own because one thing humanity has demonstrated is that we look out for self even when it causes pain for other people.
I think it is also worth noting that atheism, by its very nature, is calling people away from something instead of to something. Their call to people is away from God. They might tell us that they are calling people to reason, knowledge, education, and truth, but these things are also offered in a life following Jesus. Atheism lacks the mechanism to call people (as well as expect people) to live out their potential (which I would describe as God given).
This is what makes the life of faith in Jesus Christ superior to a life of no faith. God expects and demands that we live for others. This expectations is found throughout the New Testament. It begins with Jesus’ example and teaching, especially seen in the two greatest commandments (Matthew 22:34-40), and continues in the letters of Paul (Romans 12, Galatians 6, Ephesians 2:10), James (James 1:27), Peter (1 Peter 3:9), and John (1 John 3:16-18, Revelation 2:19). The Follower of Jesus Christ can encourage (Hebrews 10:24-25) people to live lives of love and service because he/she realizes that is the type of live that is expected of us. God has made it very clear that He has called us to a life that is not focused on us.
Another exciting aspect of this call is that it takes into account our unique talents and passions. If all that we can call people to is our own belief of right and wrong and to what we think is important then what will be demanded is uniformity. The person with a concern for the environment will expect everyone to be concerned. The person concerned about suffering in Africa will expect everyone to be concerned. The person concerned about poverty in inner city America will expect everyone to be concerned. The result is that we become overwhelmed by the extent of evil and suffering and conclude that we can’t do anything about (this is assuming that we agree that something needs to be done in these situations because if there is no standard for right and wrong we may not agree what is evil and what is acceptable).
In Christianity not only do we have a standard for determining what is wrong and right and a call to give ourselves away to loving God and loving others, but are also encouraged to bring our own uniqueness to the situation. This is found in the metaphor of the Body of Christ that Paul uses for the church (Romans 12:3-5, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31) and the appeal of the New Testament writers to use the specific talents we have been given (Romans 12:6-8, 1 Peter 4:7-11). God has designed the Church to meet the evils and suffering of the world by giving the individuals of that body with different talents, resources, and passions. This is the calling that God has given us, to give ourselves away to something that we could never do on our own.
I remain a follower of Jesus, in spite of my doubts, because God has placed a call on my heart. That call has both a personal aspect (to serve and love those around me) and a corporate aspect (to take the love of God into the world). By living out this call I discover the live God created me to live, and that is what I want other people to discover as well.
Most of us understand that people are different and those differences are a good thing. The world would be a boring place if everyone beli...
My wife Jenny and I have been using the Bedtime Prayer that John Eldredge wrote for Walking with God as part of our bedtime routine. As ...
One of the things that strike me about God is that the value society has given to people makes no difference to Him. In fact it seems that ...
"It's a lot easier to sing a song than it is to stop and touch the broken. It's a lot less taxing to go to church than to take ...