Living Like Atheists

Living Like Atheists

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” . . . Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance.
–James 4:13, 15-16

The longer I am in ministry, the more convinced I am that the church is filled with atheists. Now, I am not talking about theological atheists; I am talking about practical atheists. Many of us live our lives, conduct our relationships, and formulate our plans without ever once even thinking, “What would God have me do in this situation?” We live our lives as if there were no God.

Abraham’s nephew Lot illustrates this attitude. When Abraham gave his nephew first choice of the land in Canaan, Lot made a decision that ultimately led to disaster. Genesis 13:10-12 says, “Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere. . . . So Lot chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastward. . . . [He] settled in the cities of the valley, and moved his tents as far as Sodom.”

Lot chose the better-watered, more fertile land, even though it was next to a wicked city. That certainly seemed like the logical choice to make, because Lot’s philosophy of life was the philosophy of America today: get all you can, can all you get, and sit on the can. However, that choice proved to be very shortsighted and ended up in a catastrophe for Lot’s family.

What caused him to make such a disastrous decision? Notice the progression of Lot’s decision-making: he gazed with longing at that fertile land, and then he chose it. There is no indication that he ever asked God for direction. Never once did he say, “God, help me to make the right choice here.” He was a practical atheist.

That is the problem James pointed out in James 4:13-16, when he said, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’ But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.”

If you are facing a decision in your business, your family, or your personal life, do not make the same mistake that Lot made. He never consulted God, and it led him to disaster.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Prodigal Nephew” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org