The lie that God is not needed exists on a couple different planes.
The first is in the big picture sense that God is not needed to explain the existence of a universe, our world, life on this planet, etc. It’s the claim that all of what we know and feel and experience of our universe has come from an infinitely dense particle of ever existent stuff that somehow was jolted into action by some eternal source of energy. It’s the claim that a Creator is not needed to explain that there is a creation. When it comes to arguing metaphysics, this is probably not the right forum, nor is a single blog post sufficient, so I’m going to bypass a lot of debate and just say this: For everything to exist, there either had to be an infinite, eternal personality acting to bring it into existence (God) OR there had to be some bit of life-matter randomly activated despite there being no cause for that to happen.
The more personal side of this lie is that God is not needed in life. “My life or yours could go on just fine without Him.” Growing up, we hear the mantra that we can be anything we want to be if we just work hard enough. I understand the sentiment, I want my kids to learn to work hard, too. But the truth is, there are some things that I do not have the capacity to do, and no amount of hard work will change that for me. The list of things I can’t do on my own is pretty substantial. There are a lot of avenues of life that would have never opened for me, even if I wanted them to and was willing to work hard to make it happen. Just for the record, much of what I do every day as a youth pastor is on that list.
I could never have made the difference I’ve made in the lives of my students under my own effort. The public speaking alone would have required more of me than I could have ever managed. I didn’t just have a typical fear of public speaking growing up, I absolutely loathed it and avoided it any way I could. My mind revolted at the thought of standing in front of people and sharing my thoughts, and my body complied. Words didn’t come out right, my legs involuntarily twitched like a fly-tormented horse, and my stomach would alternate between wanting to expel everything in it and growling at any onlookers close enough to be threatened by such an expulsion! Sophomore speech class was probably the first class I really had to work at to will myself to completion. And I managed because I had to, not because I was any good at giving a speech, then vowed to never speak in public again. But because this is what God led me to do, He’s enabled me to do it.
Maybe I’m projecting here, but I don’t think so; we need God to live and work in us in order to become what He dreams we can be. We need Him to help us become what we dream we can be. But maybe that makes us feel weak. Maybe we don’t like to admit that we can’t just pull ourselves out of the mess we’ve made. Maybe we’re afraid to acknowledge we’re not as self-sufficient as we pretend to be. But we face a gulf, created by our own sin, between our Father and ourselves and there is no hope of building a way across. We need the Way He already provided.
You can help the young people in your life see the folly of this lie by:
- Depending on God. This isn’t just a lie that the young are being fed. Many of us more seasoned travelers have believed it too. We’re making due, but what if we could learn to truly depend on God to sustain us with His grace.
- Acknowledging and showing your own need for God. There’s no need to pretend you have it all together, they suspect you don’t anyway.
- Encouraging them to dream big… so big they can’t manage on their own. (And make sure they know they don’t have to make it alone.)
Check out the rest of this series here or each individual post at the following links: