The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Category Archives: Teens

Maturity Priorities: How much does God care about swearing?

277

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

Suppose you have an old, rundown house that you want to majorly fix up.  What do you do first?  Do you fill the rooms with nice new furniture before you start tearing down the ratty wallpaper and ripping up the stained carpet?  No, you start with the foundational issues first.  You upgrade the wiring.  Then you paint.  Then you carpet.  Moving in new furniture is the last step that you only get around to after the core issues have been dealt with.

In your relationship with God, your soul’s attitude towards Him and your understanding of who He is are core issues which God feels are far more important than surface niceties.  Classy, inoffensive speech is a surface nicety—it’s something that makes you more attractive to other humans but it really doesn’t have much to do with your relationship with God.  Just as your house guests neither see nor appreciate all of the pipes and wires that you upgraded inside the walls of your home, other humans don’t notice or celebrate when your soul starts improving its attitude towards God or gains some new insight about how He views you.  As is so often the case, God’s priorities for you differ quite a bit from other humans’ priorities.  The challenge then becomes for you to choose the right set of priorities to focus on. Read more of this post

The Spiritual Cost of Pursuing Fame

236

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

English speakers have an old saying: “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”  To appreciate what this means, you must first imagine that you’re someone who really loves cake. You love cake so much that it thrills you to see a nice big slice of cake sitting on your plate.  But as much as you always want cake to be available to you, you also love eating it because it is so very delicious.  The problem with eating your cake is that after you eat it all up, you don’t have anymore.  Your slice is gone.  It is physically impossible for you to still have cake sitting on your plate once you’ve eaten it.  Here’s where we get to our old saying: “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”  It means there are times in life when you will be forced to choose between two things that you really want because having both of them just won’t be an option. Read more of this post

Light vs. Darkness: Where does God dwell?

130

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

Does God dwell in light or in darkness? Or does He dwell in both? Let’s check out some of the passages that inspire these questions. Read more of this post

Zephaniah 3:17 In Context: Does God really sing over us?

59

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

As is often the case in the Old Testament prophetic books, the third chapter of Zephaniah takes us on a roller coaster ride from harsh scoldings and dire threats to inspiring words of encouragement and hope. Yahweh is talking to Jews, of course. The ancient Jews are who He’s talking to most of the time in the Bible. And when we get to verse 17 of this intense chapter, we come across one of those famous one liners that Christians love to yank out of context and claim as a direct promise for themselves.

“Yahweh your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zeph. 3:17)

Read more of this post

Making Good Ideas Go Bad: Understanding God’s Motivations

27

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

God wants you to have problems in life. Not because He wants you to be miserable, but because problems provide a context for you to mature and develop a closer bond with Him. It’s when our lives aren’t going smoothly that we start really looking for God’s involvement in them. Problems also provide an opportunity for God to teach us more about who He is. Read more of this post

Overcoming Spiritual Apathy: What to Do When You Just Don’t Care About God

12

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

It’s a very real thing to simply not care about God.  The solution is simple: ask Him to help you care.  This is not the same thing as asking God to save you.

The desire for God comes from God.  He has to develop that desire within us.  Rebellion is about willfully choosing not to care about God.  But when we simply don’t care about God the way we simply don’t like the taste of a certain food, we’re not guilty of rebellion, we’re just stuck in an honest dilemma.  We can’t manufacture concern for God out of the air. Read more of this post

Understanding How Easy it is to Succeed with God

8

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

Many earnest Christians find themselves paralyzed with fear that God will suddenly flip out on them if they make one wrong move in life. Naturally this makes them feel very distressed and anxious whenever they have to make a decision. If your human father was some unreasonable, short-tempered jerk who was always demanding that you reach some impossibly high bar of perfection, you will automatically project these same bad qualities onto your heavenly Father. But the truth is that God is not a clone of your earthly parent. Instead, He is an entirely different kind of Being, and One who is far easier to succeed with than your fellow human beings.

Here’s a key point to understand: God does not expect you to read His mind. When He wants you to do something specific, He takes full responsibility for communicating His will to you. When He’s not giving you any specific instruction (which many Christians feel is most of the time), then is He going to flip out on you for making some wrong move? No. Read more of this post

God Told Me: The Only Valid Basis for Faith

316

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

“God told me” is one of the most abused statements in Christendom. But guess what? It’s the only basis on which you’re trusting in all of those biblical authors. Moses, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Paul, Peter, John—all of these folks claimed to know what they knew based on revelations from God. How do you know that they weren’t deluded? How do you know we’re not deluded? Today the Church is stuffed to the gills with prophets, preachers, and theologians who are all making the same claim: “I know what I know because God told me.” When Christians claim that the Bible is inerrant, what they’re really saying is, “None of those people who said ‘God told me’ could possibly be wrong.” Well, since when? Just because some ancient Church father decided to blindly accept the claims of Moses, Paul, and Peter, does that mean you should do the same? Paul claimed to receive direct revelations from Jesus. We could make the same claim, but we say that a lot of what Paul says was wrong. Whose “God told me” should you give higher priority to—ours or Paul’s? Should you be blindly trusting in a bunch of dead people who you never knew personally? You don’t know us any better than you know Paul, so on what basis can you trust anything that we say about God? Read more of this post

Practicing Dependency: Appreciating the Wisdom of God

305

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

When a pilot tries to decide whether or not it’s a good time to take a flight, what does he do? He checks the weather report. He checks his fuel. He checks some routine mechanical parts. The pilot then makes a decision to fly based on what he knows. The weather looks good. His gas tank is full. The engine seems sound. But what the pilot doesn’t realize is that one of the wings of his plane has a severe crack in it which is going to cause the whole wing to snap off if the pilot attempts lift off. In this scenario, what the pilot doesn’t know is the most important information of all.

Or take the woman who starts up her car in the morning. When she fires up the engine, she doesn’t see any warning lights on her dash. She sees that there is fuel in the tank. The engine sounds normal. Based on these facts, she decides to go for a drive. But what she doesn’t realize is that someone has attached a bomb to the underside of her car, and that bomb is going to go off in thirty seconds. In this scenario, what the woman doesn’t know is far more important than what she does know.

As a human being, you know things. Knowing things is good, but if you don’t know the most important things, how can you make a wise decision? Our pilot is going to crash and our woman is going to get blown up because of their ignorance. It’s not the pilot’s fault that he doesn’t have x-ray vision to see into the structure of his wing. The woman had no way of knowing that she should have checked the underside of her car before getting in. Both of these people are acting reasonably, but they’re still going to end up in a heap of trouble because of their limited knowledge. It’s the same with you. If you try to go through life relying solely on your own limited information, it’s guaranteed that you’re going to end up in a major mess. Read more of this post

Understanding God: His Obsession with Complexity & Variation

291

God fills our lives with experiences that help us understand Him. Among humans, we notice a pattern that the more intelligent someone is, the more they are drawn to complexity.  We reserve the label of “genius” for people who show remarkable cognitive abilities.  Often geniuses stand out a young age by their ability and desire to perform highly complex tasks.  Take the young math genius who prefers to work out calculus problems instead of playing simple video games.  Or take the young computer genius who is found writing complex programs just because he can.  The greater someone’s cognitive abilities are, the more complex tasks and problems need to be in order to hold their interest.  We observe this pattern in ourselves, and then we come to God: a Being who has infinite cognitive abilities.  Read more of this post