Sooooo. I have a relative who majored in college in Philosophy. Actually, he minored in that.
I think mostly people bump down the road hoping blessings are coming their way for work for effort. Or fall out of the sky. But certainly, if God were a slot machine and you put in your good behavior, you would hope for a good ROI.
The Bible says,
so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
So the play for effort reward is not a sure covenant signed and sealed.
And interestingly enough, I do some Calligraphy and enjoyed having a small spiral notepad with Biblical quotes that warmed my heart. We used to have to interview people in college for my sorority, so a lot of people saw my small notepad. People who knew not a lot about the Bible found the notepad - "Rather nice - can I have one?"
Nihilism the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless.
I'm not sure I can even address that. If we believe life is meaningless - you could do unfathomable things. I'm pretty sure that is an illness to think that. I suppose if you were a killer for hire - that works.
Existentialism the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining their own development through acts of the will.
Sounds a lot like the High Schoolers and Junior High Schoolers we used to do Youth Ministry with. We all have to do this. If our beliefs are not thought out, then we merely parrot what we believe. Jimmy Swaggart had his beliefs handed to him. The Prodigal Son needed time. Jesus' brothers needed time.
Why can't we all just determine to be Anarchists and do what feels right? My relative went back to college to his college professor and said Anarchy has been tried. Or perhaps Libertarianism. And that is called the Book of Judges. The Governmental form chosen by God for the Children of Israel after they decided God was a little too powerful and too many unusual things surrounded the Ark of the Covenant.
In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
In those days Israel had no king. And in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking a place of their own where they might settle, because they had not yet come into an inheritance among the tribes of Israel.
In those days Israel had no king. Now a Levite who lived in a remote area in the hill country of Ephraim took a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah.
In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.
The end of the Book of Judges has an entire tribe disappear. Tribes disappeared under kings as well , however usually as an act of war and that is sometimes unpreventable.
A tribe is an analogy for a brother. And the question is answered for doing purely what suits us. And the consequences.
So why would we pick to be Christians? God loves us first. God calls us.
Are we afraid to disobey? God says, through Jesus in the Bible, that we know that Heaven exists and hell. People say Jesus meek and mild. People say. However, Jesus said be afraid of Him who can cast you into hell. So we are in Fear?
Moses. Moses met God. Moses knew that the Power God holds is something there is no hiding from.
Peter. Peter met God. Peter knew that the Power God holds is something there is no hiding from.
Jeremiah. Jeremiah met God and knew that Power God holds might just listen if he asked not to do the job. Peter asked God to look away too. Both of these men knew God and hoped someone else would have to speak up. Not them.
So why did they speak up eventually? Because God appreciated them. God didn't put out a tazer and zap em. Samuel was told to anoint David as King during the reign of Saul. Samuel - Man of God - asked God - "Could we do this later? Would you send someone else to anoint him?"
Samuel thought God could be reasoned with. Abraham knew God. They were good speaking companions. Abraham bargained God for lives. God was pleased. Adam spoke with God in the Garden and thought Adam would like to be like God. Adam was willing to endure God's anger - to be like God.
So....People who know God - believe - God is reasonable.
Why do they end up Doing What GOD wants them to do?
God has a way of being Father. There is something Vastly compelling to know God has something for you to do. Something amazing happens when you realize - God is For You.
God not only just knows your name - God gave you your name like - the biggies in the Bible. Ephesians 3 says God names people And in the mind of Christ - parents say, "Hey, this is a good name for the baby!"
Abraham was flawed. Terribly flawed. His parental skills have left the middle east in trouble as brothers fight brothers over an inheritance still. If only we could go back in time and help Abraham with parenting. God sees this. And says to Abraham - because you have the faith to go where you are called - because you have the faith to believe I speak to you - because you only tried to fix the Words of God to fulfillment - because you tried to bless that unplanned child - because you argued the lives of sinners to God - your faith is credited to you as Righteousness. Love covers a multitude of Sins.
There is something compelling about God. When HE says, "Hey, you want to come with me?" People put down their day to day activities and say, "Yes, I want to see what happens next!"
And when they see what God can do - they walk in awe. And worry. And worry some more. And then and then and then - they see God appreciates them. A man is told by His Father "You are not far from the Kingdom of God." And that moment has crystallized a life.
A man is asked, Simon of Cyrene, to help carry the cross of a good man and finds as he travels the Via Dolorosa about Jesus. Simon sees meaning. He sees Mary is given comfort. Women mourn Jesus. Multitudes of women mourn Jesus. He is in despair at the shape of Jesus. To see Jesus suffer. Simon's wife and son are recorded as being helpful to the Body of Christ before the name Christians even exists. Simon might have been like John - who could hardly bear to know the cruelty shown to a man proclaimed to be by His klllers - The Son of God.
Jesus spoke to a rich man and declared as he walked away - Nothing is Impossible for God.
Unlike the Book of Judges - Jesus had hope for that man. His disciples were astonished. Jesus had more faith in God and in that man.
Jesus had a follower who deserted Him. And Jesus believed the man could actually be the basis of His Church.
Jesus had a man who was murdering people to help the Temple of God. Jesus believed that man could write a vast portion of His Word. Jesus saw this priggish, overbearing, goody two shoes, willing to murder and help murders to help a weak God. And Jesus believed that man could go to the Gentiles and explain why they did well.
Jesus told the Gentiles they had figured out how to Love better than the Jews. Jesus has a knack for seeing people have gifts, talents, adventure, joy, courage and endurance - when they don't even see that in themselves.
God did not just See Gideon. God sees us all.
The reward is not riches. The reward is not more fear. The reward is not a larger to do list. The reward is Love. To hear the Words of God for millenniums and to grasp them into your heart. To be grafted into the Family of God.
John. John met God. John knew that the Power God holds is something there is no hiding from. John said with awe walking with Jesus - God is Love.
Peter. Peter met God. Peter knew that the Power God holds is something there is no hiding from. As men chose to walk away. Peter said to the Face of God, "Where would I go? Jesus, You have the Words of Life."
God says there is vanity in many words. The Word of God lives forever.
God says make songs when you hear Him. The Word of God makes the heart sing.
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but The Word of God shall not pass away.
Father God, The Joy in being able to have the Word of God dwell in you richly! We will never be far from the Kingdom of GOD. Child of the Most High God. We ask those precious to us and dear ask God to dwell in them.
The gift of knowing you understand God is precious. God bless those precious Children of HIS. Be with us every day of our lives. Guide us Father God, love us God, dwell in us and help us make that dwelling a Wonderful place for You and for ourselves.
Jesus, You Love and Live. In Jesus we pray. Amen.
♔ Lord Jesus Saves †