- Be taught of God. No one can even approach Jesus Christ unless the ability to approach is given by God. This ability is given as part of the instructions from God. Note that it is not efforts or words from other people, or from religion that makes the difference. It is the instruction from God that makes it possible to approach Jesus Christ. It is in this process that you come to know that there is one true God.
- Have a deep desire for a close relationship with God – no further separation.
- Have a desire to know and perform what God wills; your own will is secondary.
Acts 15:23 – 29 (NET Bible)15:23 From the apostles and elders, your brothers, to the Gentile brothers and sisters in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia, greetings! 15:24 Since we have heard that some have gone out from among us with no orders from us and have confused you, upsetting your minds by what they said, 15:25 we have unanimously decided to choose men to send to you along with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul, 15:26 who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15:27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas who will tell you these things themselves in person. 15:28 For it seemed best to the Holy Spirit and to us not to place any greater burden on you than these necessary rules: 15:29 that you abstain from meat that has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what has been strangled and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from doing these things, you will do well. Farewell.
Note the language and what it does not say. It does not use the word "obligation" or "salvation". It does not threaten them with hellfire or anything of the sort.
Lately, I have been involved in some discussions with a variety of people, ranging from the religious, to atheists. The subjects under consideration were basically spiritual in nature. There was a diversity of opinion offered in these discussions. Some became emotional; differences of opinion on these subjects can be perceived as a personal threat. For the most part, spiritual wisdom was not well received or understood.In our culture, some of the factors which contribute to secular beliefs are Reason, Rationalism and Empiricism.
The quest for healing can be a heart-rending, all consuming quest. I have been involved in several such quests during my lifetime, for myself, family members and others. There are few such challenges which exposes a persons true beliefs and expectations.
- "Clean up" your life (literally and figuratively)
- Renew your mind
- Only speak and think positives
- Study the bible more
- Give more money
- Serve more
- Pray more
- Pray for others
- Visualize your deliverance in detail
- Figure out what fear cause this to happen and face your fear
- Find and memorize as many verses as you can that will encourage and "inspire" you
- Take "this class"
- Find the "right" person to minister to you
- Take responsibility for myself – obtain a marketable skill and improve my problem solving skills (the author Larry Winget has some good, hard-hitting books that will help)
- Associate with spiritually like-minded people whose functioning compliments my own functioning
- Disassociate myself from religion and its influence
In general, our society which is supposed to be rational and scientific, continues to cling to superstitions, irrational and unprovable beliefs. Start listening to the media, students and educators for references to superstitious terms. Some of these terms are "mother nature", "luck", "fate", etc. Those who cling to these concepts span the entire spectrum of society.
Each one of these terms refer to some unseen, undetectable entity, power or force which can affect people and events. Some people even speak and behave as if these entities can be entreated so as to intervene on behalf of the supplicant. The continued acceptance, use of, and belief in these concepts form an almost universal "faith".
Another aspect of secular spirituality is the drive to go beyond what is physically possible. Note that I did not say "…what is theoretically possible…" This behavior manifests itself most notably in drug abuse by athletes. The point at which faith begins and reason ends varies.
There is the aspect of faith (as defined above) in science. Scientific faith manifests itself when discussing the existence of extra-terrestrial life. The more popular arguments deal the the "probability" or "chances" that the excessive number of worlds which exist will or will not have life. There is no proof for such a belief at this time so faith must be used to accept the existence of such life.
The use (application) of mathematical models and statistics is an area where the boundary between reason and faith is not well defined.
What about unprovable Axioms (I consider that these as a subset of all Axioms)? The acceptance and application of such axioms would seem to require faith as well.
Today, more than any other time during my life, the popular view of Government has taken on god-like attributes. Listen to how children, educators, media and politicians speak of government. Listen to how the unknown, unseen and powerful "policy makers" are referred to by the scientific types. It is difficult to really know what image is held in any individual mind. It does seems that "government" is becoming a sentient deity of some kind in the minds of some.
Could it be that many of those who communicate their rejection of "faith" and anything unprovable are really communicating a rejection of religion? Such a rejection is understandable and very reasonable.
Note that the definition for "faith" given above is cultural and religious, not Biblical.
Lately there has been much discussion about homosexuality, sin and the Bible. Much of the controversy and division is due to the fact that the discussion is about religion beliefs vs secular practice, not truth vs secular practice. Thus there is much division among people who are attempting to achieve otherwise common political goals.
Homosexuality is only one type of behavior which is mentioned in the Bible. It is yanked out of a moral and instructional context by the religious institutions. In order to address this subject specifically, one must have a grasp of the general concept of "sin" and what the Bible teaches about this concept. What is revealed biblically is not what is taught by religion.
For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.