When the movie God’s Not Dead came out, I knew Cathy and I were going to see it. Not because we are followers of Jesus…not because I am a pastor…but because Cathy is a huge Newsboys fan. In fact, I might even use the word “groupie.” The movie is a take-off on the Newsboys song “God’s Not Dead” and the Newsboys are in it.
Well…we saw it. I liked it…most of it. I thought the car not starting a few times because God wanted the pastor to stay in town was a little hokey…but the story line was outstanding.
The movie reminded me of a real life incident I experienced at the University of Delaware. I was a brand new Christian in a world religions class. For our project, we could either write a long paper or do a public presentation in front of the entire class–think large lecture hall, similar to the one in the movie.
Me being the young (and naive) follower of Jesus I was, I decided to do a presentation on the message of Jesus in the Bible. After all…how hard could that be in a world religions class?
The day came…the presentation started…all was going well until I shared the words of Jesus in John 14:6:
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Not the thing to say in a world religions class…
Immediately my professor, sitting in the front row, jumped up and started yelling at me. Some students in the class who were followers of Jesus started telling her to sit down and let me finish. Other students in the class who were not followers of Jesus started challenging those calling out the professor. The whole room erupted in pandemonium. I looked at the professor and thought…my grade is not gonna be good.
Turns out I did well in the class. I don’t remember what I learned about world religions but I will never forget the lesson of that public presentation: saying “Jesus is the only way” is very volatile.
I have seen this often since then. Most of the time people don’t care that I am a follower of Jesus. They respect my right to choose to believe whatever I desire…until it comes out I believe Jesus is the only way. This is when things usually get volatile.
The thing about spiritual growth is that spiritual growth, the kind I write about weekly, only comes through living in relationship with Jesus. There are so many reasons for this…the most basic being it’s only through Jesus that we can experience the forgiveness of our sins.
God is not dead. God not only lives, but he lives in relationship with us through Jesus Christ. As a result, we experience spiritual growth in relationship with God through Jesus.
How do you know God’s not dead, as the movie suggests? One of the ways is you actually experience spiritual growth. Where does this growth come from? It comes from God. Since it comes from God, God certainly cannot be dead.
So one of the greatest benefits of your spiritual growth is the increased assurance it gives you not only that God’s not dead, but He is alive in relationship with you.