Many people walk away from God thinking that 'religion is not for me.' They act as though there are different lifestyles for different people. 'Some people have religion, and its good for them,' they think, 'but I'm not religious, so its not for me.' But this isn't the correct way to think.
You shouldn't think in terms of religious and not religious. You should think in terms of truth and non-truth. Religion is not good for anyone if it is not true. The bible is not good if it is not true. If what Jesus has said is not true then He was either a psychotic, delusional, nut-case who believed a lie about himself, or else He was a deliberate liar and con-artist. What sane person do you know who goes around proclaiming himself to be the Son of God? What honest person could do that? No one, that is, unless it were true.
Is Jesus who He said He was? Or is He not? Is what He said about Himself true, or is it a lie? You see, it's not about religious preference. It's about truth.
And the truth about Jesus is not hard to find. Any honest seeker can easily see the truth of God and of His Son. The problem is that there are very few honest seekers. Are you really open to the idea of Jesus as Master of your life, or are you antagonistic at heart?
The people of Israel saw the wonders of God like no other people had ever seen before. They saw God work mighty plagues in the land of their captors, when they refused to allow the servile Israelites to leave their land. They saw God split open the red sea so they could walk on dry land. They saw manna come down from heaven to provide for them food in the desert. They saw rivers of water come out of a rock. They even heard the voice of God speaking from a mountian that burned with fire. Yet they rebelled against God. They made a golden calf, and worshipped it. They bickered and complained against God constantly, when things weren't absolutely perfect. They whored around with the women of the nations around them. They rebelled against the authority that was placed over them. All this during the trip to the promised land that God was giving to them. But look what God finally says:
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness, Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years. Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways. ’ So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest. ’”
The people of Israel eventually took God to His boiling point, and in His anger God swore that they would not enter that promised land, but that all that generation would die in the desert. Their children would learn the lesson the older generation refused to learn, and they would finally enter the promised land.
Those of you who don't believe that God is real don't believe because you don't want to believe. It's not because you aren't convinced there is a God, but because you don't want to be convinced. You don't like the idea of God. You don't like the idea of a Cosmic Creator telling you what you can and cannot do. Just like the people of Israel made a golden calf to worship after they had seen God's wonders, even so you do. They made the golden calf so they could do things the way they wanted to do them, you disbelieve so you can do things the way you want to do them. But that's not ok. As a matter of fact, it is rebellion, and treason, even.
Sin is not a list of things that God sat up one night thinking of so He could impose misery and tyrany on the human race. Things that are sin are things that, in and of themselves, bring or promote destruction and death for the human race. The great God of love has forbid these things so we can have life and have it abundantly. When we commit sin we rebel against God, fight against happiness and life, and promote death for everyone around us. You promote harm to the human race when you sin, and thus commit treason against humanity. It's serious business to God.
When you choose a life of sin, think of how evil it is. Think not only of how much evil you promote, whether by word or by example, but think of how much good you rob this world of, that you should and could have done. God holds you accountable for this, as well.
But God is so merciful. Even when the people of Israel sinned, He still stretched out a loving arm to them. He gives chance after chance. But don't frustrate His kindness. This time of grace won't last forever.
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness,
Jesus came to die on a cross so we can be forgiven of our sins. Don't harden your heart to His offer of peace. He hasn't come to condemn you, but to save you. Those who refuse condemn themselves against the will of God. God wills that none perish. Today, do not harden your heart against God. Your sin is not a lifestyle choice. It is rebellion. Don't rebel against life, choose life, that things may go well for you and so you might live, and promote life in all that you do.