Friday, June 5, 2009

Heart Issues

Most of what I have done up to this point is simply explain the “natural” dynamic of worldviews and show how Brett’s initial concerns did not warrant the leap to throw out Christianity. His concerns are easily resolved in a Biblical worldview.

However, in my worldview, there is a supernatural dynamic apparently taking place as well. This dynamic sheds light on Brett’s inability to find “reasons to believe”—his inability to “see” God. From Brett’s own account he does not “see” God in life or creation. A lack of “seeing” can also be termed as “blindness.” This dynamic is associated with the Biblical concept of idolatry.

Brett proclaims when he was searching for answers that his motivation was the fear of losing Janna. He states, “I was more worried about losing Janna than I was about losing God.” The scriptures proclaim that the words we speak come from our heart. Thus, Brett’s words reveal what Brett’s god was in his heart.

Brett’s god was not Yahweh, who had provided his own Son, Jesus Christ, for Brett’s salvation. Brett’s god was not the eternal creator God who spins galaxies in His hands and sovereignly reigns over the heavens and earth. Brett’s god was not the God who can satisfy the alienated emptiness of mankind. Brett’s god was not the God of C.S. Lewis who claimed that, like the sun, it is by God that he “sees all things.” Brett’s god seemed to be the temporary companionship of spouse and apparently the companionship of friends and family. These entities are great blessings from God and are to be cherished, but they are not the incomparable God of the universe who alone satisfies. Now, when what I live for is boiled down to pleasures in life, then life is really all about pleasing myself—In pride, I become the exalted one for whom all things exist and by which all things are measured and judged (with my unaided reason, my unaided logic, my intuition, and my experiences).

Brett’s realization that he feared losing his fiance more than he feared losing God is significant. Is it possible that these declarations demonstrated that he had already cultivated his first love to be his future spouse and the affection of people rather than God? If so, Brett’s moment of realization then, was not the beginning of the road to apostasy, it may have been the end of the path he was traveling. Individuals wonder sometimes, “How did I get here?” The answer is simply, “Because that was the end of path in which you were traveling.”

The Biblical worldview describes a particular dynamic in regard to pursuing other gods than the one true God, Yahweh. The fundamental heart problem of human beings is idolatry—setting other gods before the one true God. When human beings set non-real gods, non-living gods, non-illuminating gods in front of their eyes, as if to worship them, then they become blinded to reality. Because the false gods they worship are dead, blind, and deaf, they become like their gods - blind and deaf. There will be no rational warrants or "reasons to believe."

Psalm 135:14-21 (NASB95)
14 For the Lord will judge His people
And will have compassion on His servants.
15 The idols of the nations are but silver and gold,
The work of man’s hands.
16 They have mouths, but they do not speak;
They have eyes, but they do not see;
17 They have ears, but they do not hear,
Nor is there any breath at all in their mouths.
18 Those who make them will be like them,
Yes, everyone who trusts in them.
19 O house of Israel, bless the Lord;
O house of Aaron, bless the Lord;
20 O house of Levi, bless the Lord;
You who revere the Lord, bless the Lord.
21 Blessed be the Lord from Zion,
Who dwells in Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord!

In an idolatry context, answerable questions can naturally turn into severe doubts when one is entertaining the worship of other gods. These severe doubts are the “blind and deaf” fruit that begins to ripen. Then, these seemingly irresolvable doubts become the easy justification for the jettison of the one true God which really had really already been forsaken. The increasing severity of the doubts can be a natural result of the slow blinding process of cultivating a love for a different god.

Since Brett speaks of his own experience much to corroborate his assertions, I will speak of mine as well to corroborate Biblical truth. I worked with another young man that regularly began to doubt Christianity and God whenever he made a particular young lady the source of his pleasure—to the eventual extent of participating in immoral behavior. When this young man was finding his satisfaction in her, he would regularly begin to doubt. I could always tell when he had been struggling with making this young lady an idol of his heart because he would be struggling with doubts. After probing deeper, I would begin to realize that this man had been making his lady friend the idol of his heart in multiple ways including inappropriate sexual pleasure. When we dealt with the real issue of finding his pleasure in God alone, he had no immobilizing doubts—questions yes, but no apostatizing or throwing the baby out with the bathwater kinds of decisions.

Matthew 10:37 speaks of the individual who loves family and friends more than God. Christ rebukes them as “not being worthy" of Him. This rebuke comes not because the individuals had an appropriate love for the family but, because individuals had misplaced priorities. Sadly, Christ describes the consequence of this in verse 39, “He who has found his life shall loose it and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.” Inevitably, those who have found what they are living for other than God (idolatry) will experience the loss of that which is idolized. God will not bless his competition. Nor will He share his unique glory as the one incomparable God. In contrast God promises in Matthew 19:29 that those who have left all (including family and friends) for His sake will receive a one-hundred fold return of the same plus more.

The lesson in one sentence? Doubts may be an indication of contemporaneous idolatry.

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