By: Gary L. Hutchens
I’ve often stated that I don’t know how people can make it without God in their lives. I’m not speaking of atheists particularly, though they certainly would be included. I’m thinking of people, most of whom would state belief in God, who do not walk with God in faithfulness. They do not live by His teachings. They seldom, if ever, attend church services in order to worship Him. They do not honor God in their lives.
My wife, referring to a couple experiencing extreme trouble in their relationship, recently expressed her wonder as to why they would not turn to God. This couple has lived without God in their lives for a long time and have continually suffered from their bad choices as a result. She reasoned logically that if they would turn to God for guidance and wisdom, their lives would be better, their relationship would be happier and they would stop making the same self-destructive mistakes that have brought them such misery.
My response was, “That’s not even in their realm of thought and reality.” I don’t believe they consider God at all when charting their course in life. God does not enter their mind, either in making decisions or in trying to deal with their troubles. Turn to God? Pray for guidance? Start attending church services? Change their lifestyle? Nah, not even a fleeting thought of such passes through their minds.
Am I being harsh? No, just realistic. Why won’t they turn to God? Because God is not in their thoughts and therefore not in their hearts. Remember, Jesus said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” (Matt. 15:19). Our thoughts produce behavior that reflects what’s really in our heart. Solomon wrote, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Prov. 23:7).
It’s an out of sight, out of mind kind of thing. When a person thoroughly removes himself from the presence of godliness, living a godly life is erased from his thought processes.
Many people do this on purpose. They want to live an ungodly life. They would not say that in so many words, but that is the reality. They want to take part in behavior that, deep down, they know is wrong. Thinking about God’s will is annoying, it bothers their conscience. So, they insulate themselves by not thinking about God and by not listening to anyone who would try to talk to them about God. In so doing they condition their conscience to feel no wrong in regard to their ungodly behavior. Their conscience becomes “past feeling” (Eph. 4:19). It is as though it were “seared with a hot iron” (1 Tim. 4:2). As a result, they lose contact with God. He is not in their heart.
Other people end up in the same condition, not by purposeful intention but simply by continual, consistent practice. The lifestyle they live is ungodly and therefore separates them from God (Isa. 59:1-2). After so long, they simply forget about God. From a number of perspectives, most of all spiritually, either scenario is eternally destructive.
How tragic to live in such a way as to become disconnected from God! In our next article we’ll look at examples of persistent behavior through which people have lost contact with God…
Gary L. Hutchens