by Tad Lindley
Reputable surveys suggest that somewhere between two and four percent of Americans are atheist. In case you are not up on the lingo, an atheist is a person who denies that God even exists.
Christians are at the other end of the spectrum from the atheist. The Christian knows that there is one Lord (Deuteronomy 6:4, Ephesians 4:5), and will not turn from that truth. But unlikely as it might seem, many Christians are suffering from atheistic tendencies.
We will never stand up in public and deny the God that bought us. We will never sue to have the words “one nation under God” stricken from the pledge. We are not in-your-face atheists; and yet we are Christians struggling with atheistic tendencies.
Symptoms of low-level atheism:
The number one symptom of mild atheism is worry. Jesus had a beautiful sermon on worry in Matthew 6, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature [make himself any taller]?…Now if God so clothes the grass of the field which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry…but seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:25-33 NKJV) This is a powerful promise straight from the mouth of God. It tells us that if we seek him and his kingdom first, we will be provided for.
Every time we take a thought break and begin to wonder about how we will pay the stove oil bill, or the light bill, or what we are going to do if we get laid off from work in six months, we are worrying. We are actually telling the Lord, “Jesus, you know all that stuff you said in Matthew chapter six about how you will take care of us? I don’t believe it. I don’t believe that you can do what you promised, so I am taking matters into my own hands; I’m going to worry about it until the situation is taken care of.”
2. Swearing and anger
I have only sworn two times since receiving the Holy Ghost. The Lord has the power to change our attitudes and habits. I wish I could say that I never get angry anymore either, but that is not the case. Just like you, I struggle with atheistic tendencies.
Every time something doesn’t go the way we want it to and we get angry, we are telling the world, “I am losing my temper, because this problem is so messed up that not even God can sort it out.” When we slam doors, swear, yell, break dishes, speed, or shake our fist at somebody we are in the grip of an atheism attack. You see the Bible very clearly states that there is nothing too hard for God to fix. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NKJV) This is why a person who has been born again can hit their thumb with a hammer and not swear. This is why the sincere Christian can look at a flat tire and say, “I guess God needs to slow me down, because he has someone he needs me to cross paths with today.” Swearing and getting angry only says, “There is absolutely no way that God can turn this flat tire into a blessing!”
Some people are so greedy that they actually rob God. …In what way have we robbed God? In tithes and offerings. (Malachi 3:8 NKJV)) To those who would hold back the tithe the Lord has a challenge: “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.” (3:10 NKJV)
The tithe is the first ten percent of a paycheck, a PFD, a TANF check, a moose, Hugo Chavez stove oil, or any other blessing that the Lord sends your way. Every time that we decide not to tithe, we are trusting in ourselves to make ends meet and not trusting in God. Not only that, we are excluding ourselves from the powerful promise of God.
Avoiding a major atheism attack
If you are experiencing all three of these symptoms on a regular basis, that is 1) you are worrying, 2) you are prone to fits of anger, and 3) you are not tithing and offering, you are at extreme risk for very serious complications from your atheism. The only preventative measure is repentance. Meet with God in prayer. Pour your heart out in godly sorrow and ask for him to deliver you from atheistic tendencies.
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, AK.