The Bible tells me to be good and Holy. But what if I don’t believe in God, will I still try to be good?
If I don’t believe in God I can have several reasons to be a good person:
One, being good is good enough in itself. However, I know from experience and from observing many people from different cultures that being good is impossible. Don’t misunderstand me, a person can do good acts, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that sucha person is good. For sure, that person will fall short soon in many areas of life. I am not aiming for perfection, but being good means being consistent in his good ways.
Two, being good is great even without its rewards. To be a good person selflessly is a very good thought. However, again this is false. Being good basically means embracing suffering and pain. If suffering and pain are the only things you will get from trying to be good, then why pursue it? No way, if there’s no reward!Looking for a reward is a source of hope in the times of sufferings!
Third, being good attracts good relationships. Love begets love, and this is great incentive. However, even the most satisfying human relationships will never satisfy a human heart. This has been proven again and again. Our hearts is designed for something bigger.
What then, now? Being good is good only if there’s God who is living, loving, and Himself quite Good, or Holy. And that Only God has a Name, His Name is Jehovah, or Yahweh, or Jesus.
Going back to the reasons above, only God can meet the challenges for us to be good:
One, only God can give a person a good heart. The human heart is so corrupt only God can change it.
Genesis 6:5 (KJV) And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV) The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Jeremiah 31:33 (KJV) But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
So, without God, it is impossible for a person to be good. Very imposible
Two, God gives eternal rewards to those who try to be good. It is God’s Character to reward. And these rewards do not negate the virtue of good deeds, but rather validate their goodness before God, indicating that God values goodness highly.
Ruth 2:12 (KJV) The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.
Psalms 18:20 (KJV) The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (KJV) Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
Third, only a relationship with God a man can be satisfied. Human relationships will never be enough, only in God there’s lasting happiness and peace.
Psalms 27:9-10 (KJV) Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.
Psalms 16:11 (KJV) Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
I affirm therefore with the Apostle Paul that if I do not hope in anything else in the after life for doing good and for being righteous, then I am to be pitied most among all else.
1 Corinthians 15:17-20 (KJV) And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
So, I try to live a pleasing life to God because I have this hope of being resurrected and being totally one in Christ Jesus. Amen, Lord Jesus, come quickly!
My family has been raised as firm Roman Catholics, though I could not say that they belong to those very devout ones who attend Mass everyday. It was my decision to serve God wholly that brought hostility to my family, and not really my change of faith.
Religion is a serious commitment or choice to many families. As much as possible, many families prefer (mostly the parents) to have a one religion or faith for the entire family.
I myself as a converted Born-Again (Evangelical and Full Gospel) Christian from Roman Catholicism, I could say that conversion will almost always arouse dispute in the family. I mean ranging from small disputes to big family divisions in some few but true cases. When I was converted to Christianity, my family almost didn’t mind it. But when I decided to serve God fully, forsaking opportunities for good jobs and education, that started the fire in our home.
Family quarrels are inevitable when you are called by God. It will sometimes destroy peace.
Matthew 10:34-36 (KJV) Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
However, it is necessary to pursue a good relationship with God, at all costs. God calls men to full service very rarely, but He does. It is likely more possible that God is calling a person into a deep relationship with Him (first), rather than to a full service. In any case, when God pulls you out from your old religion into a living relationship with Him, you must yield to Him.
Matthew 10:37-39 (KJV) He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
What can I do then to lessen the hatred and opposition from your family members?
Though opposition is almost always inevitable, there are certain ways where we can minimize it. After all, we love our family and we would like them to be saved also, and not to turn out as our lifelong enemies.
Pray, pray, and pray. When God tells you to do faith conversion, pray first then act. Always say in your prayers that this will let your family feel the love of God.
Show that you are positively being changed by God. If you spend all your time in the Church and do not help in the household chores and do not speak anymore with your family, you are not helping your situation. You only worsen it by destroying your testimony in your home.
Do them favors that come from your heart. They must feel it, that you love them more now than ever. Serve them. Of course don’t do them favors that will compromise your new found faith
When you speak to them about your faith, whether you defend it or promote it, always do so using the hamburger message. That means the two breads contains positive content while the ham contains the hard message. The positive content may contain positive feedback about your family. That way, you somewhat makes the hard message more swallow-able without compromising it.
Personally, it took me ten years of praying and serving my family to make them accept my faith and my full service to God as a pastor. But now, Praise God, they are my first line of supporters!
Proverbs 27:5 (KJV) Open rebuke is better than secret love.
Matthew 5:13-16 (KJV) Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
This is my friend’s testimony regarding her struggle to stand in her belief as a Christian against a taunting and unbelieving Philosophy teacher. My friend is Che and here is her story, copied from a Christian Social Networking Site Christianster.com. Enjoy Reading!
Mark 8:38 says: “” If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
I can still vividly remember that one summer experience in my Philosophy class last 2003. I was a working student during my years in college and needing to balance my time and work, I had to withdraw some of my minor subjects and one of it was philosophy. I got blessed though that right after second year, Philosophy was offered as a summer course. I was exceedingly glad. This meant that I can finish my course in exactly 4 years. Having left some of my subjects, I had thought that I won’t be able to graduate on time with my friends back when I was still in a block section. To make the long story short, I enrolled in that summer Philosophy class. I’m happy to have finished my contract too with my job, means that I can focus on my subject. This is the only subject that I have left offered for summer so, coming all the way from Antipolo to Sta Mesa is a bit of a hassle for me. But I didn’t mind. I took it.
The sun beamed all across the entire university during the first day. The class was scheduled at 9-12 and is for 3 times a week. I headed towards the 6th floor of the main building of PUP. Whew! Trudging along as I went. 9:00 am ” Where is our professor?,” asked my classmate. We waited and waited but he didn’t come. 2ND day, 9:00 AM I was still standing outside the west wing of the main building, waiting… losing temper… but still waiting….it’s 10:30AM, go home instead.. no just wait…11:30… NO ONE showed up again. ..whew! 3RD DAY, FRIDAY – 9:00 AM ‘C’mon where are you? Show yourself up…” I said to myself as my classmates and I waited for our professor. At 10:30 AM, a short guy in black shades and cream polo entered the room and approached the teacher’s table. AT LAST!!! He actually looked like one of the bodyguards of the Mayor acting as villains of local soap operas. We were a bit anxious to meet him because he has a very unsmilling demeanor, looked formal, and…. dangerous. He removed his shades and up showed his face. He really isn’t smiling and he’s looking at us one by one without winking…. ( c’mon… why the sudden butterflies in my stomach? ) kamote! He started his lessons, no formal introductions whatsoever, but he mentioned that our very basic lesson that we have to pass before proceeding with other areas of study is about the EXISTENCE OF GOD.
He walked across the room and picked some students to answer his mighty question …” DO YOU BELIEVE IN GOD?” He asked this in a way that will make your knees shake and your voice to tremble. He’s not shouting at that time but his voice roars all over the room, and… .he would ask you while moving his head about an inch close to your eyes. I have never seen anyone NORMAL like this. My classmates attempted to shoot the best answers possible. ” Yes, I believe in God because he loves us and created us 2000 years ago, I can feel Him,” said my girl classmate, looked petite and shy. My professor laughed sarcastically. ” oh really, you feel God? Why? do you experience God? Did you see God? SHOW GOD TO US NOW, AND IF YOU CAN’T..HERE IS YOUR CLASSCARD. GO HOME AND BE WITH YOUR GOD,” exclaimed my professor. My poor classmate nodded and alas! my professor torn his empty classcard into two as my classmate left the room. We were shocked. We were 45 in the class, now we’re down to 32..
2ND DAY: ” Yes, I believe in God because it is written in the Divine Scriptures.” attempted my girl classmate, looks aggressive and one who speaks her mind out. ” Oh, Holy Scriptures huh?! Very nice answer.. very nice indeed! ( clapped his hand 3 times) I presume you are referring to the Bible.” We all answered yes as to support my classmate, we already know that she is in between life and death.. ” Okay, who wrote the Bible?” He said in a very loud tone. He pinned one of my guy classmate who stood nervously.. ” It is Saint Paul Sii-iir…” ” okay, do you believe that human beings are capable to err?” ” Ye-ees Siii-iiir….” Then my professor inscribed these words on the board.. All human beings are capable to err. Saint Paul wrote the Bible. Saint Paul is a human being. ” SO!! therefore! What would be the next statement? he shouted in our horror. ” The Bible is erroneous, Sii-iir.” answered my guy classmate. The two of them went our of the class with their torn classcards in their hands. He asked several more people, and as expected, more and more heads were kicked out of the class..
NOW WE”RE ONLY 11… I know that my doom’s day would soon come to me on this class. I know any moment that he will call me for my turn to defend.. I know any minute that it is possible that I’d be going home with a torn card too, going home after attending a single subject all summer, after travelling 2-3 hours one way everyday, after spending a lot of money for transportation and allowance, after all my hopes that I’d graduate and march with my friends…. I didn’t care. My Philosophy class turned out not to be a subject I need to finish, but a battle test from God. Some of my classmates said ” no” they don’t believe in God.. so some were saved from early class ejection. But I was determined not to do this. For me, doing this would mean denying my God. Doing this would mean that I regard Christ’s death on the cross as a worthless sacrifice for me. God loved me, God saved me, He gave His life. My professor continually asked the same question over and over again and he added some more… ” 1+1?” ” 2?” answered my classmate in an unsure voice. ” What if before it was taught that 1+1 is equal to 2, would you believe it??” Silence flushed accross the room, no words came from my classmate, out she went, teary-eyed. Other questions posed are: ” What is this? (he was holding a ballpen) What if before it was taught that it’s a rock, would you believe it? ” What are you? ( we answered a human being) ” What if before you were taught that you’re a chimpanzee… would you believe it?”
3RD DAY: DOOMS DAY! HEADCOUNT: 8 It was a very fine day from outside but not from my west wing philo room. Everyone was now silent, everyone closely looking in front as my professor looks at us silently. ” Ms. Vasquez, do you believe in God? ” was the voice that cleared the silent air. ” Yes Sir, I do.” I answered. ” Why after all our discussions, theories and debates, you still believe in your God?? Why don’t you join the bandwagon, deny your God and it will be an easy exit for you?” he exclaimed in a soft yet threatening voice. ” Sir, you might have proposed some theories here, but those are but theories, no evidence were given. I believe in God because I feel His spirit in me everyday, everywhere I am. I believe in what the Bible says because I believe that God wrote it , used human beings, but still He is the AUTHOR of this Holy Scripture. I believe He created you and me, I believe that one day, all of us will die and eventually face HIM and he will judge our hearts. FAITH IS MY EVIDENCE OF TRUTH. ” With this, he turned silent and his jaw moved from one side to another. I must have admit I felt nervous at the way he looked. He walked towards me… bent his head on me and took out my empty class card… I took a deep breath ( oh no… this is it..) ” Ms. Vasquez!” he shouted to my horror. “Ha.ha.ha. If you believe in God and said that you feel His power everyday and everywhere, now, why don’t you find your God in the marketplace, make Him give you a grade and make Him sign here in this portion of your card! NOW…OUT OF MY CLASS!!! ” He gave me my classcard and I hurriedly left the room.. I didn’t know what I felt at that time, but my heart tells me that I did the right thing. So what if I’m not graduating on time, so what if I will just have to take a Philo class from other schools? I told my mom what happened on that day. My mom was furious., she wanted to travel to Manila, go to my professor and confront him for such behavior. I told her not to. I must admit I cried a little to my mom, not because I did wrong but because I thought that I had wasted so much time during that summer, plus to consider the fact that our life was very hard then and my mom just managed to split the budget to give me allowance for that class. I cried to God that night in prayer. He comforted me. I remembered His promise: ” For I know the plans I have for you,” sayeth the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 God did gave me that wonderful assurance and I knew I have nothing to fear about.
Days passed… I just enjoyed the rest of the summer and smile at that experience. There were times, when I think about it, joke it around and mimic the way my professor talks.. hahaha!
JUNE CLASSES came.. I was happy for this school year, my fourth year in college. I know I’d be facing a lot of trials again but I was happy knowing that God guides me and helps me attain my goals little by little. I never thought God blessed me this far.. A familiar face approached me, it was my classmate from Philo class… yes. From Philo class??! I started to run some thoughts as she approached me… then she greeted me hi. She then started to pull out a little yellow printed paper out of her sling bag, gave it to me and sped away. I looked at the card. I was so surprised to see it was a classcard in PHILOSOPHY 1, with my name above the subject title and a mark grade of ” 3.” I was dumbfounded for several minutes until it came to me that ” IT WAS MY CLASS CARD! ” I almost leaped with joy during that time. I never thought that my professor would actually consider giving me a grade. I soon found out that it was 4 of us ( from original class of 43 students ) whom he gave grades for a 3. I prayed and thanked God for this BLESSING. For me it was my most meaningful grade of all the subjects I’ve took since primary year. Yes, it was a 3 and it was the lowest grade anyone could have in college, but it was all worth it. Now, having worked for almost 3 years now after graduation, sometimes , when I go back to my school records and see that class card, I cant help but remember my most unforgettable experience during school days.
God is so good. He truly makes His presence known by the ACTS OF LOVE He bestows upon us.
Amen, sister Che! God loves us so much though we are so undeserving!