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Why is God important? January 15, 2008

Posted by questcollegeministry in christianity, church, Quest, spirituality.
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At Quest last Tuesday, we started a new series. When we begin to try to truly understand God and what it means to follow him, it is a lot like starting with a blank map. As we learn and understand more, we start to fill in the map, and we gradually add more details. But the blank spaces on the map can be intimidating and even scary because we don’t really know what’s out there. In fact, centuries ago they used to write “Here Be Dragons” in the areas of the map that the mapmakers didn’t know anything about. Over the next several months, at least, we are going to try to fill in more and more of that map.

This week we started with a relatively simple, but essential, question. Why is God important? Why is God significant? In many ways it is a simple question. In fact, for people who already are Christ followers, it is basically assumed that God is important. However, it is essential that we be able to articulate an answer to that question. First, it will help us make sure that our own faith is grounded. If we don’t understand for ourselves why God is important, then it is easier to walk away from him at some point in our lives, because it just isn’t that big of a concern in our lives. Second, we live in a culture where more and more people have no previous experience with God or the church. If we want to be able to talk to people about God who have very little understanding or knowledge about him, then the first thing that we are going to have to do is to be able to explain why God is important. Many people aren’t going to care about what we have to say about God until we can explain why God is important or significant.

We had a long discussion about a number of different reasons why God is important. Here are some of the ideas we came up with:

• God is important because he exists. The very fact that God created the universe and everything in it, including us, makes him important. The evidence of God is all around us. We can particularly see this in nature. It is almost impossible to stand on the rim of the Grand Canyon and deny the existence of God. It is such an overpowering, awe-inspiring experience. Things like this point to the existence of God.

• God is an authority figure who provides boundaries. I don’t mean this in terms of God being the police officer around the corner who is waiting to catch us in a mistake, but rather in terms of a loving parent who sets up boundaries to keep us safe and on the right track. As Andy pointed out, “without God, I’d be a loose cannon.” God’s authority tells us that some things are good and other things just aren’t okay. These guidelines help us steer clear of things that would be destructive to ourselves or to others.

• People seem to be hard-wired to look for God. Every culture in the world has a religion of some kind. Every one has created a god or system of gods and a method for worshiping them. This seems to indicate that we are predisposed to look for God.

• God gives meaning to life. We all want to be significant. We all want our lives to have meaning. But if this life is all there is, then there really isn’t a meaning. With God, however, life has a purpose and a meaning.

• God cares about us. John 3:16 tells us that God loved us so much that he sent Jesus to die for us. Romans 5:8 expands on that to say that God sent Jesus to die for us while we were still sinners. So God loved us enough to send Jesus to die for us even before we had done anything to deserve that love.

There are certainly other reasons we can come up with for why God is significant. We could talk about the things we have seen him do in our lives or the lives of the people around us. All of these ideas demonstrate why God is important, and why it is worth pursuing a relationship with him. Over the coming weeks, we will look at some of what that means.

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Comments»

1. mellyreed - January 16, 2008

I agree that this is a very timely question to know how to give an answer to. One thing that God has been bringing to my attention several times over the years is that simple and direct questions need simple and direct answers. As I read this post (and the answers that followed) it made me think about a talk in which Dr. Ravi Zacharias recalled an exam question when he was in seminary: “God is perfect. Explain”. I won’t go into his answer (you can go to RZIM and do a search to listen. It’s a great talk) But the question “Why is God important” is really coming from the same level and how we answer it says a lot about 1) why we are serving God and 2) what it would take to get us to stop serving Him. Approached that way, I saw that it has the potential to put us and our listener on shaky ground. Habbakuk’s prayer in the end of his book gets to heart of the matter with the line “though the fig tree does not bud”. Is God important more for providing, for being our moral lawgiver, etc.? Yes, but humanists will claim they have got that covered. We could wrestle out all the other ideas, good and right in themselves, and there would always be a rebuttal, skewed though they might be. So what is it really that shows the importance of God? There came a clue while I wrestled with this one as I was listening to a sermon about the question of violence. It’s this whole idea that is stirring the very marrow of Habbukuk: why the senseless violence of our times and where are you God? (and this is a solid lead in for rebutting secular humanism: it has failed far more in the historical political record in preventing violence than any other religion. The death toll alone under atheistic regimes is staggering) It seems very well summed up in this quote by Chesterton: “God is like the sun; you cannot look at it, but without it you cannot look at anything else.” This is exactly the point that John 1:5 makes: The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” We think of the account of Sodom and Gomorrah and what was done to the men who had given themselves to violence in that city: they were blinded. Psalms counters this when it says”You are lamp to my feet and a light to my roadway.” God is important to all mankind because we are blind without him and that blindness is our evil. Only God gives us the sight to live by, by Him we dwell in the light. Paul tells us that if we “grope for Him he is near enough to be found.” It is by Him, C. S. Lewis said, that he saw all other things. God is important because he restores our ability to see Him. Like the lyrics of the hymn Amazing Grace: “I once was lost but now I’m found. Was blind but now I see.”

2. amy - November 26, 2012

god is very important to us


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