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CONFESSIONS OF A PRACTICAL ATHEIST

November 18, 2009 4 comments

I have been thinking a lot for the last few weeks about a phrase Justin used in a sermon a while back on pride. He said that pride makes a Christian a “practical atheist.” A lot of Justin’s sermon hit home with me that morning, but this was the most convicting part of his message for me.

That’s because I am one of those people who tries hard not to leave anything to chance. I’ll plan well and work hard and exhaust every conceivable option if need be to ensure all the loose ends are tied up. Whether my task is planning for retirement, researching sermons, working on a dinner menu for the next two weeks, or booking a vacation, I try to think of everything and fill in all the gaps.

While I recognize the possible benefits of my attention to detail, there’s one very big potential problem. That problem is that I can very easily operate under the assumption that I must handle everything myself (or an even worse assumption that I can handle everything myself). Even a leave-nothing-to-chance guy like me knows that’s a serious problem for a Christian. I don’t want my life’s mantra to be: “If you work like everything depends on you then you won’t need to pray.”

However, if I don’t allow God room to work in my life, if I don’t feel the need to commit my plans to him, if I don’t think I need him since I’ve got everything under control…If I don’t lean on God, then how can he support me? He can’t. And that’s the problem with not trusting in the One I believe in–it turns me into a practical atheist.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

-Proverbs 3:5-6