Nov 062018 0 Responses

God Is Not Enough

God is something.

It’s not an empty reference or pointless comment. When an Oscar winner thanks God for his blessings or an athlete acknowledges God after the victory or a politician talks about God in her speech, it means something. In a world of non-theists, we should appreciate those who recognize the presence of a higher power.

Anyone who believes there is a god has something in common with me. That shared ground can lead to shared actions. Some who don’t believe in a god are passionate about limiting the rights of those of who want to fully practice our faith. They desire to limit the expression of faith to a specific place (centers of worship) and specific time (Sundays at 11:00 am). Any faith expression outside of that time and place is viewed as a violation of separation of church and state.

If someone believes in a god, we have common ground and should seek to support one another’s right not just to worship, but to practice those beliefs as the American Constitution allows. This is why I will stand beside people of different faiths because any time their rights are limited, it’s just a matter of time before my rights are limited as well.

However, God is not enough.

Just saying “God” doesn’t mean very much. We live in a time where everyone is expected to tip their hat toward God. They are expected to acknowledge him and then completely ignore him in every aspect of their lives.

Notice–there is a radical difference between a generic reference to God and a specific naming of Jesus.

God can mean anything. Humanity is quite skilled at creating God in our own image. We assume he thinks as we think, loves what we love, and approves of what we do while overlooking what we know to be wrong. Referencing a generic “God” is an easy way to give the appearance of faith without any actual substance being demanded from us. We can pretend to be faithful while continuing to do whatever we desire.

Calling on the name of Jesus is different. His teachings were specific. His life was a lesson. His way is unique. When his name is mentioned, it can be contrasted against the idea associated with it or the lifestyle of the person using his name. If an athlete thanks Jesus, but in no way lives a life that shows Jesus, we know his words are empty. If an actress mentions Jesus in her acceptance speech but never acknowledge Jesus in any other area of life, we know her mention is a PR stunt. If a politician calls on the name of Jesus while campaigning, but refuses to treat his political enemy the way Jesus said to do, we know he is just trying to use Jesus to get votes.

The name matters. Generic references are pointless. They seek only to deceive. The difficulty is that they are very effective in deception. If an audience of faith wants to believe a politician they will assume his god reference is a reference to the God they believe. If an athlete or actor is popular and powerful, their generic references will be interpreted as specific words of faith. When an unbeliever is confronted with the Gospel truth, they might assume their own generic references to god are enough to prove that they are one of the faithful. It’s not enough. It’s never enough.

God is not enough. Simply having a generic belief in God and making generic references about God is not enough to claim that you have a relationship with Him.

God can mean anything. Jesus is much more specific. Your belief in a generic God can’t be debated. Your belief in Jesus can be tested.

This leads to a key question. The most important question in life is not “Do you believe in God?” The question is “Are you a follower of Jesus?” Anybody can answer the first in the affirmative and it not impact them in any way. However, an affirmative answer to the second question demands something from us. It requires us to know Jesus, understand his way, and adjust our lives toward what he demands. We can be challenged by other people and confronted for areas or actions which don’t match what Jesus taught.

So watch out for the generic god reference.

Don’t allow others to manipulate you by deceptively mentioning god in a generic way. Recognize that some will have ulterior motives and will attempt to use faith as a tool to accomplish their will. Don’t fall for their trap.

Don’t blindly assume when someone generically references god that they are talking about the same God you believe in. Kindly ask questions. Seek clarification.

Don’t personally use generic god references lest you confuse others. Sometimes followers of Jesus will generically reference god rather than using the name of Jesus. We do this to avoid the confrontation which the name of Jesus brings or to sound less judgmental. Avoid the temptation. Use the name of Jesus.

God is not enough. Jesus is. Recognize the difference.

 

“You believe God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe–and shudder!”
–James 2:18

 

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