God: Opiate and Crutch

opium religion jesus christ crossMany people’s opinions of God and religion can be summed in the words of the German political activist Karl Marx (1818-1883): “Religion is the opium of the people.” Is religion an opiate? Is God a crutch for the weak? Yes, but not in the sense people think.

Daily Atheist on DeviantArt accurately portrayed the truth of the cross of Jesus Christ in the image to the right. Unbelievers desperately need the opium of Christ’s blood for their sinful souls – a blood transfusion! They also need the crutch of prayer for their weak hearts, minds, and bodies.

Still, there are fundamental errors in atheistic thinking. Unbelievers don’t acknowledge that they need God for life at every moment. They don’t acknowledge their weaknesses either. Yet compared to God, people are very weak! The result is arrogant self-reliance.

Needing Life

god adam life edenEvery day we need permission from God to live and breathe. We usually receive that permission without asking, but we still need it. God chooses to wake us up every morning when he could have let us die the night before.

Elihu, a friend of Job, understood this truth. “If [God] should gather to himself his spirit and his breath, all flesh would perish together and man would return to dust” (Job 34:14-15, NKJV). Elihu also said, “The Spirit of God has made me and the breath of the Almighty gives me life” (33:4, NKJV). He rejoiced in God’s creation, that moment when “the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7, NKJV).

God gives us life, breath, health, and movement each day. He keeps our bodies functioning at 98.6 degrees in a process called homeostasis. God then gives us the ability – and the desire – to walk, talk, eat, drink, work, and play. These things don’t just happen. God produces them.

God also gives our planet perfect living conditions, letting it revolve around the sun at a specific speed and distance. We can’t live on Mars or the other planets, just Earth. God then gives this planet sunshine, wind, and rain each day. He softens the soil so we can plant seeds. He makes the crops grow so we can harvest them. We have no control over the weather, but Earth isn’t taking care of itself. It has a gracious master – God. We need him just to live here and eat!

Needing Strength

isaiah 40 everlasting godWe become tired after exercise or at the end of a long day. We want to sleep and rest as we were designed. The  Everlasting God never gets tired. He never needs sleep or rest. “Everlasting God,” written by Brenton Brown and Ken Riley, declares this truth.

You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won’t grow weary

You’re the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles

Human strength doesn’t last forever. Our muscles can attrition through lack of use, physical illness, or age. We must then rely on other people for the daily tasks of living. The Almighty God never becomes weak, sick, or old. He never relies on others for strength.

As humans we were born small and weak. We will die and return to dust. The Eternal God has no beginning and no end. He will never die. He is not made of dust.

Finally, we can’t move mountains in the case of illness, a bad domestic situation, or the loss of employment. We can’t produce miracles in our families and workplaces. God – Defender, Deliverer, and Savior - can and will produce miracles in our lives if we just ask him. The statements below are true of God, not us!

“Thus says the LORD: ‘Because the Syrians have said, “The LORD is God of the hills, but He is not God of the valleys,” therefore I will deliver all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the LORD.’ ” (1 Kings 20:28, NKJV)

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.” (Proverbs 21:1, NKJV)

All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, “What have You done?” (Daniel 4:35, NKJV)

Receiving the Cure

nebuchadnezzar daniel prideThose who refuse to acknowledge God simply bite the hand that feeds them daily. Yet God continues to feed them.

There is only one cure for human arrogance and self-reliance: forced humility. Those who walk in pride God is able to abase (Daniel 4:37) – whether through the loss of a job, a family member, a friend, or personal health. His cure is unique to our disease.

God knows the best medicine for curing us of self-reliance and he is not afraid to use it! Then we can tell people, “I have sinned and perverted what was right and it did not profit me” (Job 33:27, NKJV). Our display of weakness will bring God glory and testify to others of his strength.

Will you publicly acknowledge God for life and strength? Or will you continue in arrogant self-reliance? If you choose the latter course, watch your steps. You may stumble and fall!

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