For myself I am not sure that I make the connection clear between my faith and how I live. Paul said to the Athenians: “In him you live and move and have your being”. It’s all very well to be dancing along the street, but everyone else will just think you’re not quite with it. They aren’t going to be asking you what you’ve got, so they can have it too.
The Celtic band ‘The Electrics’ sang a song: “I don’t know what you’re drinking, but pour me a pint as well”. That’s what we want others to ask us. “How are you so different from everyone else? What keeps you going?”
In some ways, I know that I am different from others. I have no doubt that I will be in heaven when I die. I know that the Father loves me. Perhaps I have too lofty an opinion of my own status sometimes. I need to be reminded that God chose me, not that I chose him. I didn’t buy in to Christianity in order to do God a favour, in order to keep him happy. Rather, I was drawn to Him by love. I saw that it was all desperate. I was not sliding down off my pew, slipping into hell.. but I might as well have been.
If you are reading this, and you gave up on orthodox Christian belief, because you felt that it was too harsh, too difficult: hard to square with a God who has unconditional love, then let me ask you a question. What are you now trusting in to get to heaven?
I know that most of the wonderful people in the world are not actually Christians. When a person becomes a Christian, they do not suddenly receive a personality transplant. And a lot of people who are brought up in religious backgrounds have as many hang-ups and ‘weeds hanging around in their gardens’ as anyone else.
Perhaps you gave up on Christianity because you didn’t like being under such scrutiny. Whew! you thought. I’m out of it now. I can relax when I’m with my friends, finally. I can do sport on a Sunday now. I can drink a bit more at the pub, and I don’t have to watch my language. Perhaps an ethical choice that you made forced you out of your church, because you knew that they wouldn’t approve.
Are you casting off an eternity with the Father who has loved you all your life so that you could have a quiet life now? Have you chosen to put the welfare of your children and family and friends before the glory and honour of the Son of God who loved you and gave Himself for you?
Personally, I make no pretense that I am living a holy life. I am a sinner. But God wants to make me holy. And I want to say yes to Him every day. Getting down on my knees, listening to His Word, listening to others, trying to love others. That’s all part of the package. Finding places to be where I can be helped along the way. That’s how we live it out, one day at a time. Not saying ‘no’ in my heart to Him, ultimately, either at the start or at the end, or even somewhere in the middle.