Only fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and their actions are evil; not one of them does good!
(Psalm 14:1, NLT)
Isn’t it easy to read this verse and respond, “yes, they are fools who don’t believe in God. Look at their behavior. They are bad. They are evil. They don’t do anything good.” We put them under a microscope, analyze their behavior and find them wanting. Then we place ourselves on our pedestal of righteousness, proud that we are not fools, like they are.
But let’s take a slice of our own heart and put it under the microscope. Where in my life have I said “there is no God?” maybe not in those specific words, but by my deeds, my indifference, my thoughts and attitudes, my lack of action. Where have I had the appearance of godliness, but denying its power in the way I love and live?
Oswald Chambers, in My Utmost for His Highest, states: “Unless we are experiencing the hurt of facing every deception about ourselves, we have hindered the work of the Word of God in our lives.” He speaks of Jesus’ questions to Peter (calling him by his birth name) “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” (John 21:17) Three times he asked Peter. Three times Peter answered, “Yes Lord, you know I love you.” Each time becoming more hurt. Jesus responded each time with a task, “Feed my sheep.” Jesus didn’t just want an emotional ascension of Peter’s love. Jesus wanted to see it in action. He entrusted Peter with the work of taking care of the flock after He left. He entrusted Peter to love his brothers in the way Jesus loved them.
And He wants the same for us. He asks us “do you love me?” and He entrusts us with the work He has given us and He entrusts us with those He has brought into our lives. But too often, we act as if there is no God, we act as if He has not tasked us or called us to love. We act as fools.
I must ask myself, where have I not let the word of God pierce my heart, as it did Peter’s, judging its thoughts and attitudes, exposing its desires and intentions (Hebrews 4:12)? Where am I at risk of denying the very thing Christ calls me too and putting myself at risk of becoming a fool, knowing God, but not honoring Him, instead, allowing my foolish mind to be filled with darkness? (Romans 1:21)
Father, I confess my own foolishness. It is so easy for me to read your word and see flecks in my brother’s eye or stand in judgment of those who do not know you, without ever asking the Spirit to reveal the log in my own eye or the foolishness in my own heart (Matthew 7:3). Please remove from me this heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh, (Ezekiel 36:26). Please create in me a clean heart and renew a faithful, obedient spirit in me (Psalm 51:10).
grace & peace