The faith that is not naive

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)

I was listening recently to a YouTube video of a talk by the psychologist and media personality Jordan Peterson on the story of Abraham and the importance of responsibility ( He was expounding upon a lesson he observed in the Genesis story, that if you give yourself fully to that which God has called you to, then all things are possible. Peterson followed up on that point to acknowledge that some people think that such an outlook on life is naïve, and consequently dispense with that idea. But then he argued that if you would stop being the sort of person who dispenses with ideas and, in a more mature way, once again give yourself fully to the responsibility to which God has called you, then you truly don’t know what God might do in and through your life. He then made this powerful statement, which resonated with me:

“The power of the nihilistic argument is more powerful than naïve optimism, but it’s not more powerful than the optimism that is not naïve.”

Nihilism, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, is the belief that life is ultimately meaningless, a way of life that rejects all religious and moral principles. Peterson’s quote made me think of the many atheists, either in my life or online, who have rejected belief in God and faith in Jesus as naïve, as wish fulfillment on the part of those who are afraid to face death in all its tragedy or who are too scared to cope with the horrors and suffering of life. There is something superficially self-esteem-boosting in this outlook, as you look down on those unenlightened religious types clutching on to their Sunday School delusions, too afraid to face the objective meaninglessness of life, too frightened to step into the freedom that comes from rejecting the reality of God. But in the end, after the smug self-satisfaction of being better than religious people wears off, the atheist is still left with an empty nihilism: the objective meaninglessness of life and the inescapable tragedy of death.  

But there is an optimism that is not naïve, as Peterson put it. There is a faith that is mature, a belief in God that is based on evidence and experience. There is a way to trust in God that is not afraid to ask the hard questions or to wrestle with the complexities of life. There is a hope that gives courage for today and peace about the future. There is a joy and meaning in life that is not destroyed by suffering or death. There is a love that pursues you, that never leaves you, and that transforms you into a better person. There is a Savior who has overcome the grave. And there is a God who, if you give yourself fully to Him, can do more than you could ever ask or imagine through your life.
We can not live forever with the faith we had when we were seven. We inevitably grow up and realize that life is more complex than that. But God is real, and we were made to know Him, follow Him, and enjoy Him forever. Seek Him today, and you will find Him.

Posted in
Posted in , ,

No Comments






1 Corinthians 10 1 Peter 4:8-9 1 Thessalonians 5 2 Corinthians 13:5 2 Timothy 4 Abundant Life Adoption Affirmation American cullture America Anger Anonymity Anthropology Anxiety Apologetics Approval Arguments Atheism Baptism Barnabas Battle Be still Bible Study Bible reading Bible study fellowship Bible Billy Graham Bob Pierce Bonhoeffer Books Breath Prayer Brennan Manning Brian Fearon Bronx Busyness C.S. Lewis Cape Coast Castle Central African Republic Character Charles Spurgeon Charleston Cheap grace Christian media Christian privilege Christian publishing Christmas Church growth Church life Church College Commitment Communication Community Compassion Competition Confidence Contentment Coronavirus Counseling Courage Cove Service Cowardice Craig Wolfram Critical Race Theory Criticism Cross Culture D.L. Moody Daniel David Death Deborah Despair Discernment Discipleship Discipline Distractions Division E.M Bounds Easter Ebenzer Ecuador Edward Kimball Election Elisabeth Elliot Enabling Encouragement Endurance Envy Ephesians Eternal life Eternity Evaluation Evangelism Faith False Teachers Fame Family Fasting Father Fear Fellowship Footwashing Forgiveness Francis Chan Freedom Friendship Gaia McDermott Gates George Mueller Gift exchange Gino Marozzi Giving Glory God's character God's faithfulness God's goodness God's leading God's love God's plan God's presence God's slowness God's sovereignty God's wrath God\'s faithfulness God\'s love God\'s presence God\'s sovereignty God\\\'s presence God Good Samaritan Gospel Grace Grief Haiti Handel's Messiah Happiness Hartford City Mission Healing Heaven Hebrews 11 Hell Hiddenness of God History Holiness Hollywood Holy Spirit Home Honesty Hope Horatio Spafford Hospitality Houston Human rights Humility Hypocrisy Identity Ideologies Idols Immanuel In memory of Information overload Injustice Insecurity Integrity Intimacy Isaiah 9 Israel JI Packer Jeremiah 29:11 Jeremiah 8:11 Jesus' death Jesus' love Jesus\' love Jesus Job Joe Barone John 8 John Newton Jordan Perterson Joseph Joshua Joy Judgement Judges Justice Kanye West Kingdom of God Knowing God Lamentations Lament Las Vegas Leadership Leaf by Niggle Lent Les Miserables Lessons learned Longing Lord's Prayer Love Luke 10 Lynne Pleau Mark 10:21 Mark Driscoll Marketing Memorial Day Men's conference Mercy Mike Yaconelli Ministry Missions Money Moralistic Therapeutic Deism Moses Music Nancy Butler New Year's New life NewLife Old Testament Opinions Optimism Order Orlando Outreach Parenting Passion of the Christ Passion Pastoral care Pastoral ministry Patience Pentecost Peru Phil Vaglica Philip Yancey Philippians 4:13 Play Pokemon Go Politics Poverty Power Prayer Preaching Pride Month Pride Prison ministry Progress Prophecy Prophet Prosperity Gospel Proverbs 14:4 Proverbs Psalm 13 Psalm 46:10 Psalm 46 Psalm 51 Public Speaking Purpose R.C Sproul Reflection Relationship with God Relationships Relativism Relevance Religion Reputation Rest Resurrection Rev 2:4 Revival Rich young ruler Righteousness Romantic love Ron Luce Running Sabbath Sacrifice Salvation Same-sex marriage Samuel Sanctification Satan Saul Seculosity Self-Image Self-Worth Service Sex Trafficking Sex Shirley Prey Signifigance Silence Sin Smartphones Social justice Songs of Ascent Spiritual Disciplines Spiritual Gifts Spiritual Warfare Spiritual growth Statues Stories Street Church Stress Success Suffering Suicide Sunday School Survivor Syria Technology Teen Mania Thanksgiving The Hartford project The Ragman The Sound of freedom The Underground The Valley of Vision Tim Keller Titanic Tolkienn Tozer Trauma Trust Truth Uconn basketball Unanswered Prayer Unity Uvalde Valley of Vision Vows Waiting Williams Syndrome Wisdom Witness Work Worry Worship Zechariah accountability accusation addiction bitterness cancel culture child trafficking confession conflict cool devotion disillusionment divorce emotions evil evolution faithfulness foster care glory days gratitude idolatry influences listening marriage nostalgia pastor perspective problem of Evil prodigal son purity of heart racism recovery redemption relevant repentance story temptation the one Jesus loves time management trials tribalism violence vision