Two posts ago I described the objective news that is very good, hence ‘gospel’. I spelled out what God did to make a way for us to be in right relationship with Him. Yes, every single human being has a relationship with God, the Almighty Father.  As one British man put it, we all have a personal relationship with God.  Some are enemies of God and will be judged worthy of eternal separation and punishment; some are friends of God and will be graced with the gift of pardon and joyful eternal fellowship with the Holy family.

Today I want to describe the subjective changes that can occur when one’s status shifts from “Enemy of God” to “Beloved Child and Friend of God”.

Context and frameworks are important to me.  I grew up learning lots of data via education, reading and ‘attending’ church.  But I had no system in which to file, store or make sense of the information.   (As an aside, having been ‘educated’ in public schools to include my four years at “The University” aka University of Virginia and then having taught for 12 years at an elite ‘independent’ school, I was hungry for a better way to educate students.  Hence my delight upon discovering the classical method; subsequently I have found a HOME teaching logic and French at a classical Christian school in Yorktown, VA.  The classical method gives students a structure on which to hang the data they absorb.  Then students are drawn into making connections, learning to reason and ultimately expressing themselves with eloquence.)

The spiritual side of my life paralleled my educational experiences. The seemingly random chunks of unanchored God-knowledge I was collecting came from years of attending church. God had been calling me for a time into a deeper relationship with Him. But no matter what I learned, it had minimal impact on my life, for without a proper worldview or system, I had no idea what to do with the information.  Until my mid-forties, I was busy being a wife and a working mom with two sons.  I didn’t have much time to think.  You know what it’s like coordinating sports schedules and keeping up with the social lives of teens.

The year I turned 40, my life changed. I started studying and learning biblical truth via Bible Study Fellowship.  The concept and importance of having a Biblical worldview also began to percolate somewhere in my mind as I read books recommended by mentors.  But one day (I must have had a pocket of time to think), I was sitting at a traffic light waiting to turn left into our neighborhood when I was caught up in the meaninglessness of life.  It was an Ecclesiastes Meltdown Moment.

Have you ever had one of those?  It’s when you can somehow stand outside of yourself and observe both yourself and those around you.  Everything seemed meaningless, an entry right out of Solomon’s diary:  Chapter 1, verse 8:  All things are wearisome; Man is not able to tell it.  The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor is the ear filled with hearing.

I FELT the futility of everything and I was depressed.  It was rush hour; people were in that tired/no think/ rat-race zone, just doing the next thing on the list and stressing because they had not allowed enough time to GET there, wherever THERE is.  There seemed to be no purpose to anything in my life.  And I was very scared.  I can see why men have mid-life affairs or buy a big toy or why women want a new house and throw themselves into decorating it.  Humans crave purpose, meaning, and drama!  And if they don’t find it where God intended them to (in HIM!), they will imbue something created with that kind of transcendent meaning.

My spiritual angst did not last more than a couple of days, but I won’t ever forget it.  Somehow through all that I had been learning from God’s word, books and podcasts, a framework for making sense of life as it really is was forming.  All was NOT meaningless.  There was a purpose.  Whew!  I would not want to live unanchored every day with the burden of having to make up a purpose à la existentialists. But sometimes God gives me a taste of that empty world as a reminder.  I am exceedingly thankful when I come back to my senses.

I’ve told you the above back story to show you the sad truth that without a relationship with God as one of His own, people live quiet and despairingly grey lives. Oh, they may LOOK happy and even be satisfied for a while as they busy themselves with all the entertaining options the world offers.  But with no proper framework or world view to explain the ‘teleos’ (purpose) of life, eventually the baubles of life break or satisfy no more.  Even uninformed Christians can get caught up in the snares of modern, frenzied life and not know that they have it all wrong.

I became a Christian at age 24, but did not start to study my Bible in an organized fashion until I was 40 and even then it took about 5 years for some of the truths to make a serious difference.  (Hint, hint, hint:  when you share the Gospel with someone, it’s really important that you plug them into a Bible-believing Church so they can grow and learn.)

So here are some of the SUBJECTIVE benefits to being an informed Christian.  Objectively, yes, your eternal destination and future have changed.  And that is HUGE.  But there are some very precious subjective (i.e. FEELING) blessings for this present life that come with being a growing, abiding, well-fed little lamb of Christ:

  • Purpose in life – As a believer every day that you are alive you have a mission.  You are an ambassador of Christ whose job is to make God look good in your current circumstances, among the ‘neighbors’ that God has placed around you.  God is of course incredibly good..but most people don’t know that.  To use ‘christianese’, we are to be salty and emit the fragrance of the Savior. When someone is interested in talking about God, then we can tell them the truth about their personal relationship with their Creator.
  • Explanation for evil – there is a real cosmic battle going on.  Evil exists because of the fall.  Sinful humans hurt other sinful humans.  Natural disasters happen.  Satan, as temporary ruler of this world’s systems, is at war with God and His people.  But God is still in charge.  All that happens is under His sovereign control.  I would be VERY depressed if I thought pain was random and meaningless.
  • A prepared Father who knows what is happening next – Nothing surprises God about me or life.  There is no Plan B.  God knows all that is going to happen to me and has stockpiled resources that are perfect for the circumstances.
  • Nothing wasted – Everything that is painful, tough and frustrating is used by God for my ultimate good.  If I yield it to God, the ‘bad stuff’ is not wasted.
  • Riches waiting – As a child of God, one of His family, I have access to hundreds of riches through very real promises of God as He has revealed in Scriptures.  And there is REAL power in His words.  The Bible is not just a historical account of what happened, but living words that reveal a loving God who is alive!  He has planned provisions waiting for me in the Scriptures.
  • No end – this is more important to me as I age.  I recall past 7-day cruises we have enjoyed.  Each time the week flies by.  Soon there is only one or two days left and we are sad.  All good things inevitably come to an end.  Now as I approach mid-fifties, I find comfort that the best is yet to be and it won’t ever end.