How do i even seek God if I am so ingrained in my worldly values?

I was raised in a christian household. But i was also raised under very wordly values, to think and see literally in the ways of the world.

I am a christian, i go to church and you know read the bible and pray ( though not very often). How am i assured that even as somebody who is so worldy, so looking forward to the things of this world, that I would find God, or is it even valuable to devote such time and energy into seeking God. I also sometimes just ask can’t he just be my saviour and we will just remain it there ?

Also, as i realized that to follow God according to the word and the bible, we must as a person chase after God’s heart and ways and forgo the ways of the world. But as someone who is set upon the ways of the world, me following God’s ways feel like i am giving up on life’s pleasure and rewards. Why does wanting to follow God feels like a constrictive way of living ?

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@Samuel_95 Great question friend :slight_smile: I think the short answer is really simple - obey what you know, and keep learning more. Obedience to what we already know to do and to prayer is critical to spiritual growth. Also critical is to keep learning more - to be hungry for the sincere milk of the Word.

The world gives you cheap pleasures - God gives you everlasting joy. As C. S. Lewis says, the problem is not that our desires for the world are too strong, it is actually our desire for what is truly good is too weak. We chase after the two cent bubble gum of the world when God has prepared a delicious feast for us in His house.

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” C. S. Lewis

I would same some good teachers to listen, none of whom I agree with on every point of doctrine, are:

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Hi Samuel,
There’s a possibility the following verses in James 4 may speak to what you’re describing.

Keep in mind “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. To be struck with sobriety and seriousness of these matters is normal and appropriate for a believer. Please consider that the courage to admit your sin and to behold your sinfulness in the presence of the holy God does not align with a nonchalant disposition.

James 4:4 -
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness…

I hope these verses serve you.
If a wake up call is in order, now is a good time to get honest and to humble yourself before God

Regarding your question:

… I can’t be certain what assumptions you hold from your upbringing or where you’re coming from on things. It’s possible some of your beliefs and conclusions about God and the bible are not in alignment with the bible. Based on the architecture of emotions any distorted misconceptions easily translate into distorted feelings and perceptions. Seeing a supposed “christian life” through a distorted filter could make it seem less than satisfying, meaningful, or “worth it”. My encouragement would be to consider what the bible says by listening to what the bible actually says. Don’t assume you already know God’s word by what you you were programmed to believe. If you’re truly a believer then let the word of God stand or fall on it’s own merits. Contemplate whether what the bible says is actually so. Only then will you be able to find any value in it.

…they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Acts 17:11

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How do i do this ?

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Hello. Many times in these situations, as I once was, it is not because the worldly things are so good. It is because our personal perception of what is good or satisfying is obscured. We do not see with the eyes and wisdom of God. We see with our sinful hearts and fleshly desires. Seeking the immediate satisfaction.
But the flesh, just like the things of this world will fall apart to rot and decay. None is ever lasting. All is temporary, but the treasures we lay in Heaven remain forever. We are not told to have no enjoyment or pleasure by God. But to do it appropriately and within the confines that he gives us.
With worldly things there is always fear of loss. Jealousy that leads to sin. Vanity which serves only ourselves and destroys the ones we claim to love. Materialism that leads to too many hours wasted trying to achieve them and protect them, that it steals precious time from bonding with our spouse, kids, family, and friends.
Would we rather have a big house, nice car, money in the bank, and no good relationships of love, with no strong bonds? Or live in a trailer, working a 9-5, with a cheap car, and a house full of love, laughter, and true joy?
Life is but a whisp my friend. Can you remember being 10 years old and the bonds of friendship you felt then? Does it not seem like it was just a minute ago? How much happier were you then? What was more important in your life, nice shoes or true friends?
When you blink your eyes again you will be in your death bed, wondering where it went. What will you wish you had done more, or spent time on in your life? Who will be by your bed? Will it matter how much the bed cost? Will it matter who saw you as the boss? How will any of it benefit you in what comes next? The only thing that can go with you is love.
Lastly consider this my friend. If you think that the things of this world, that God created, for he created all things, are so great, are they better than what we will receive, that he has prepared for us in heaven? So you have to ask yourself. Would you take a penny today for a piece of chocolate, over a million dollars tomorrow that could by the chocolate factory? I believe that isn’t even close to the equivalent, because God gives so much more.
Many prayers brother. I hope this gives you pause and helps. I have always said that if you truly want to change your world for the better, you must first change your personal perception to attain the right perspective, and that starts with our Lord. God bless and strengthen you to his will. Amen.

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Letting the word of God stand on it’s own merits assumes that you know it and really think about it to begin with.
At the risk being a bit “off” I would guess that when you read the bible you don’t significantly engage with the content, Do you diligently seek to understand it and contemplate the counsel it gives? Have you found God’s truth and his counsel to be true or right or useful to you in a major way?

From my perspective It seems you haven’t found God’s instruction to be quite as interesting as the interest level you’d be interested in possessing in it. Substituting wishful interest for genuine interest can never take the place of genuine interest. Life presents too many obstacles and barriers for halfhearted efforts to get where they want to go.

Do you hold christian convictions while remaining unconvinced of that which you say you are supposedly convicted of? Can you hold your “Christian beliefs” in a pocket that is separate from your actual beliefs? What are the benefits of living a falsehood of an “unbelieving believer” ?

If your desire is to reconcile your heart and mind in these matters please consider the list of to-do’s given in James 4:
Submit yourself to God
Resist the devil
Draw near to God
Cleanse your hands
purify your heart
Be afflicted
mourn
weep:
Let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness

This list follows the expressions of broken heart who admits his corruption and begs for mercy from a loving God who is equally just and still “means business”. If this broken heart is you, then James 4 has given you a starting point to set your heart on the right track.

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@Alexander_Shanks

Yes the bible stated that God can give us much more and he is the creator. And that’s exactly an issue that i wrestle very personally.

Long story short, there was a time where i ask God for a breakthrough in my pursuit of a dream. In the end, that dream didn’t materialize. Of course you know my mom and people tell me that just because you didn’t get what you want, doesn’t mean God is not listening or he’s just witholding something for your good and that he has a higher purpose.

Now i admit after this ordeal, a stinging sens of doubt just emerged in my mind. If something that I chased after so badly didn’t materialize after me praying to God, yes this thing might be my own desire but not God’s desire, that he has something in store us, but why should i subscribed to this belief ?

In all honesty, it hurts that you know i just missed out on my own dream. Of course, i don’t want to blame God but hey how in this kind of disappointment that i had experience can i believe in a God who can give more. I know he has the power, the might and all things he can do, but why isn’t he doing anything ? Why you know other Christians seems to be enjoying God’s blessings and i’m left at the back seat of the church wondering what i do wrong ?

Now i know im not a good christian by any standards as compared to Jesus and other church people, but what hope do i have that you know as a sinner, as a disappointed and heartbroken believer that God can give me much more ? And why should i change my personal perception to attain the “right” perspective in regards to our Lord God when i have been on this downside ?

please do engaged me on my question, i find this thread and the stuff that we are doing here are really not just mere intellectual stuff, but kind of making sure we address the root problems. Thanks

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@timotto

Do you diligently seek to understand it and contemplate the counsel it gives? - half / half

Have you found God’s truth and his counsel to be true or right or useful to you in a major way? - Some small situations yes, but something that convicts me as of now no.

In regards to your statement about genuine interest.

This leads to me another question. If i need genuine interest and to not be halfhearted at my efforts, then i would also need assurance, that God is who he claim to be. You can read some of my comments in my latest reply to Alexander (also in this thread), regarding a situation that i encounter and face. In that reply i also explain a bit on how i went through being a disappointing and heartbroken believer.

So in the face of my own heartbroken and disappointment, is there even a need of a genuine interest of in terms of God’s instructions ? I mean God hasn’t really spoken anything my in life, or impacted my life in ways that i can tangibly feel and see and in light of this, what’s the basis of my even considering a genuine interest in God’s instructions ? Because you know from an existential point of view, the merits of God’ and the Bible kinda you know is definitely on the downside.

Do you hold christian convictions while remaining unconvinced of that which you say you are supposedly convicted of?

In regards to this question. I believe Jesus died for our sins and he is the saviour for us to get to God. I am holding on this believe and am convicted of this believe. But to go further than that, like surrendering myself to God, to learn in God’s ways, i mean again it ties back to my question, with all that my own disappointment and in some sense pain, being convicted of a God that is good and great seems distant and frankly hard from my level of view.

Please do engage me should you have any further answer or thoughts. We are getting to the roots of the issue and trust me this is way more than an intellectual discussion we are having here on this thread. Appreciated the replied that you have given so far.

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Here’s a pretty simple question, Samuel, but take some time to really think about it. In your heart of hearts, meaning really deep inside yourself, do you believe you need a savior?

I’m not talking about what you’ve heard in church or told by your family in your upbringing, but what you truly feel about it right now. Do you Samuel need a savior?

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Have you considered that God needs to have assurance that you are who you claim to be?
It seems to me that with a bit of courage, you could truthfully call yourself an ungodly hypocrite.

From what I understand through the scriptures, by what you’ve said about yourself, it would seem that God views you as an ungodly hypocrite who doesn’t love Him and doesn’t believe He has your best interest in mind. I don’t at all mean that as an insult. But it seems your assumptions about God are an extreme insult to His character.

It’s possible your belief in Jesus… That “he died for our sins and he is the saviour for us to get to God…” is just a psychological mechanism you’ve mentally installed to help your conscience deal with its perpetual nonsense. Again, I don’t mean that as an insult, But as a matter of allowing you to consider how you might be processing your view of God and the gospel. The lack of integrity you’ve pointed out in yourself points to a lack of biblical alignment with truth and the gospel.

If you are a reader I’d encourage you to read through the book of James. Or, you might try listening to James several times on youtube or something. (takes less than 15 min.)
Here’s a link for that. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SX21vTiopxw
Hearing the scriptures takes time and multiple repetitions. If you’re truly seeking to reconcile yourself to God I would guess your next question would in some way relate the the bible you’ve been reading or listening to.

@Jennifer_Judson

If i’m honest, deep inside the answer is no.

But there is something inside that tells me i need to wrestle with my issues, my doubt in regards to the faith that i have been raised and taught.

So as someone who was heard of Jesus since birth and raised in all it’s teaching and traditions but yet struggle to even feel the need for a saviour, where do we start ?

@timotto, well you are right, i am an ungodly hypocrite.

And regarding this point, if God views me like this, then what’s there for me to continue on in the faith ?

And regarding this point about the perpetual nonsense, I can be an ungodly hypocrite, a person who lacks integrity, but it would be a disservice to call what my conscience has been dealing to be perpetual nonsense. The fact that i am asking, seeking listening to viewpoints of people in this forum, to ask the sort of questions that i posed in at first in my thread while being called an ungodly hypocrite, and being a person without integrity is just…

It’s easy for me as a man, a worldly man to just shut off and eliminate God entirely all spheres of my life, and yet here i am spending my time reading and trying to make sense of my faith, my life and my relationship with God.

In regards, to your encouragement, i will read the book of James. I will read it once and maybe multiple times and see where this leads me. Afterall, it’s time to let God’s word stand on it’s own merit. If you want, do pray for me that God will show me and let me know if he is real and that his words could stand on it’s own merit,

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I give you encouragement to follow Christ in the light that you are not a Christ follower. The feelings of discouragement you get from hearing that may have to do with the forgone conclusion you hold about yourself that you are a Christian, that you love God, and that you’re his child.

Whether you think you have an ungodly faith or an ungodly life springing from a godly faith may not be worth dwelling on. The resources God has given you are not out of reach. Your self contrived thinking about life, about God, and about Christianity has generated bad fruit. The thoughts contained in the word of God will serve you much better if you are able to consume them.

Keep in mind that God doesn’t give smiles to those who half-heartedly seek him in hopes they might confirm their Christian conduct by doing so. He honors the desperate heart that needs Him so much it busts through obstacles, climbs over walls, tears open roof tops… wrestles and tracks down and lays hold of of God and his saving hand.

Applying yourself along these lines to the book of James will point you in the right direction.

An important aspect of your upbringing is that when you come to the crossroads where you do come to the realization that your only hope is a savior, you will know that that savior is Jesus.

We pray the spirit will draw you to that realization and that you will choose Christ. But be aware that continually ignoring that nudging of the spirit can so harden your heart that you can miss out.

They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
Ephesians 4:18-19

I think everyone who lives for Christ will tell you the culture that is currently drawing you pale in comparison to the Kingdom of God.

I will also suggest that if you are reaching out here you already feel that the culture is not offering you anything that lasts. Perhaps you are closer to choosing the kingdom than you’ve ever been.

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Hi. By your question on here, God is working in you now! Seek & you shall find, knock & it will open. God wants you just the way you are. And as you learn & grow reading His Word, He will transform your heart & mind to be more like His. It’s usually not an overnight change, it’s a life time commitment!
Find a good church to go to & get involved in a small or mens group. Gain, again, as much head knowledge as you can, cause since now that you going cause you want to learn, God will open up things that you didn’t see before!
I love listening to any of Ravi’s talks. He’s so humble & has great wisdom.
I’m also a supporter of 12 step groups. They help to remind us that we’re not in control & when we give our life to Christ that He will only give us what is good, cause that’s all He can do. Are good is not always the same as His good. Celebrate Recovery is a Christ centered Recovery group, great support for those searching for truth. You should be able to find one near you, just Google it.
My prayers are with you as you search. God won’t leave you, but you can move away from Him, so be careful.
Also start reading your Bible day & night. Start with the New Testament, maybe John.

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@Samuel_95, You know, I will join you and say I’m a hypocrite as well - I easily fall into trap of standing with the Pharasees and get ready to throw stones at the lady caught in adultury - when the fact is I have lust in my own heart; and Jesus says to us ‘he that is without sin, let him cast the first stone’. I think your honesty is refreshing and how you are asking geunine questions about your struggles is encouraging to me also.

What’s amazing about the Gospel is that Jesus died for everyone, including me with all my brokeness, lust, sin and hypocrisy. Do I need a Saviour? YES! If I’m really honest with what’s going on in my own heart, it’s a mess, and only Jesus can sort out that mess. There’s no way I can do this on my own; I need God’s help with it all. The amazing news is we don’t have to clean up our act before coming to Jesus; we do have to humble ourselves before Him though - that’s the hardest part.

You mentioned one aspect that no-one has discussed yet; the area of broken dreams or dissapointment in lack of answers to prayer. I recall John Lennox, one of my favourite speakers, ask a new question in the midst of lifes hurts and pains and disapointments.
He asked ‘What is God doing on a cross, suffering at the hands of His creation?’. To slow down and contemplate this deeply really stops me in my tracks.

You know, if we’re honest, we all experience times when God feels a long way away, times when God seems absent or reading the Bible seems difficult. I think a lot of Christians we see at church that seem to have it all together are pretending a lot of the time - most people find it too painful to be honest at church; myself included.

A message series that was an encouragement to me and that might be of interest is from Andy Stanley; entitled ‘Who Needs God’. In part two of the six part series he addresses some of the things that really cause us to struggle, and can cause us to ask harder questions of our faith. I grew up in a Christian environment; and have been through similar struggles. The message series finishes with a great verse from the book of James (as has been mentioned);

“Come near to God and he will come near to you. “

From (https://whoneedsgod.com/);

Grew up in a Christian environment
Experienced a childhood conversion
then;
Transitioned to an irreligious environment and you liked it!
or
Experienced a faith crushing event, and began asking adult type questions of your childhood faith…

Received faith-based answers to your fact-based questions.

he speaks of the gods that we grew up with, that do not exist, and we should not believe in any more.
‘Bodyguard god’, God exists to protect us from all bad; when actually bad things happen to good people all the time
‘on-demand god’, god responds to fair and selfless requests in a way we expect; you ask for a answer and heard nothing
‘boyfriend/girlfriend god’, god’s precense that is always felt, when the fact is the things that are most constant are the things we are least aware of.
‘guilt god’, controls you through guilt and fear; if it’s enjoyable the answer is no.
‘anti-science god’, where you are forced to choose between undeniable science and unreliable religion; God or science is a false alternative
‘gap-god’, God convenietly shows up as an explanation for everything we can’t explain.

Hopefully a few helpful thoughts - praying for you mate! :slight_smile:

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

@Jennifer_Judson, also just want to ask. Is there any book or chapters in the bible that would address my question or help in my thoughts on why do I need a saviour ? I want to read those and see the answers for why do i need a saviour from the word.

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Do you have the video or materials to John Lennox answers to his question ? What’s your thoughts also on this question Matthew ?

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Hi, @Samuel_95! I have just read through this thread a couple of times, and I wanted to say that I have been very moved by your honesty and vulnerability.

I also wanted to say that the death of a dream (like most deaths) is a very painful thing, and I wouldn’t want to minimise the depth of the disappointment, frustration, and sadness (you used the word heartbreak) that comes along with it. I’ve known it acutely in my own life, and am still dealing with the grieving process!

Would it be fair to say that you are questioning the goodness of God? That He actually cares about what happens to you or me? That’s definitely the question that constantly comes to the forefront of my mind when I’m disappointed. If that’s not it, I’d be interested to know what you’d say to God if you were in a conversation about it all with Him.

I suppose one thing you already mentioned was…

I’ve definitely asked Him this question a number of times! But I often wonder if God is not just concerned with what we do (or don’t do), but about who we are becoming in the face of disappointments? In the past I myself have become very bitter and cynical…and then I was very nearly destroyed by that hardness that crept in as a result. God did not let me go, though, and He mercifully broke through and revived me. I wouldn’t relive those days for a million dollars, but I also wouldn’t trade my experience of Him through it for any amount of money.

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@Samuel_95 Good question :smiley: Read the book of Romans in the New Testament. Chapters 1-7 give the background for why you need a savior. Chapter 8, probably Paul’s most important chapter he wrote, delivers the good news found in Jesus Christ.

Romans reads almost like a lawyer presenting at a trial. Sometimes I even picture it that way. It opens with why we are all (past and future/pre- and post- resurrection born) indicted for our sins. It then makes the case about what “the law” can and cannot achieve in our life. When it is speaking of “the law” it is referring to the Torah (first 5 books of the Old Testament) and other Jewish writings that were a long list of what to do and what not to do. It then clearly makes the case that what “the law” could not accomplish could only be accomplished through Jesus death and resurrection.

In essence, it is the indictment, the judgement, and the penalty…and then the miraculous supernatural work of God to enable us to come to him…the resurrection.

If you read it and find anything hard to understand there are many good guides to help you understand Romans. Certainly, a great deal of content is also available online.

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