Honest Answers Poll Finding – We’re Settling for 2nd Best with God
Some people may disagree with my analysis of our Honest Answers Poll Results – but it seems to me that the majority of God’s people are settling for second best when it comes to their relationship with Him. Why?
The telling statistic is that the majority of those surveyed read their Bibles every day (or almost) and yet at the same time the majority of those are not experiencing the full victory that they have in Jesus!
Am I being a bit harsh in drawing that conclusion do you think? Here’s my reasoning:
- Dedicated to the Word: It’s astounding that 58% of those polled read their Bible every day (or almost). That’s a huge number, compared to other polls (16% according to recent research in the UK). That makes our survey sample incredibly atypical and points to a high level of dedication and desire to serve God. Faaaantastic you may say. Sure it is, but that also means that …
- Many are Still Starving: The flip side of the Bible reading result is that 42% of Christians are not immersed in God’s Word daily. What’s the problem with that? I hear someone say. For goodness sakes, the survey says that another 18% read it 2 or 3 times a week! Let me ask you, if you saw a survey about eating habits in your neighbourhood which said that 42% of people (or 84% in the case of the UK survey) don’t eat every day, would you be concerned? I would be. And that’s what’s happening with God’s people in His Kingdom.
- We’re Lukewarm About Prayer: Here are the raw numbers – only 21% of this group of atypically committed Bible readers were enthusiastic about their prayer lives. Hang on is that fair? Another 30% said it was edifying most of the time? Okay, but that still only adds up to just on half of those surveyed. If you were to ask that Carpenter from Nazareth to respond to this poll question on His prayer life, what answer would you expect Him to give? So … shouldn’t that be our ideal too?
- Victory – the Exception Rather Than the Rule: Only 18% of those surveyed were confident that they were living their lives in victory. Okay Berni this is where I draw the line. Give me a break. Another 55% said they were mostly strong and occasionally overwhelmed. That has to be normal! Again let me come back to Jesus, when He was stressed and torn in the Garden of Gethsemane. With the incredible human and spiritual pressure He was under – more than you or I will ever experience in our lives – what was His response to it all? Not my will, but your will be done. That’s victory and with all my heart I believe that’s what He’s calling us on into.
- Bible Reading Not Leading to Victory for Most: Of all the outcomes of this poll, this is the one that disturbs me the most. Here we have a highly atypical sample with almost 60% of respondents being daily Bible readers, and yet only 21% are enthusiastic about their prayer lives, and an even lower 18% express confidence that they are consistently living in victory. Now I could understand those result, from a bunch of people who didn’t read God’s Word much. But from people who are so committed to God’s Word?! What’s going on here?
Here’s what God’s up to in our lives:
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. (Romans 8:29)
And if that’s what’s supposed to be going on, then something … something isn’t quite right.
The reason I included the “counter arguments” in some of my key findings is to demonstrate how easy it is – how natural it is – to make the excuses that cause us to live a life of “second bests” when it comes to God … a God with a track record of giving us His very Best.
It seems to me that we’re all too ready to settle for less – much, much less – than the awesome intimacy and powerful victory that God has already provided for our lives through Jesus Christ His Son.
But there is a solution! More on that next time.
In the meantime, what do you think?
I think that we settle for less because our society teaches us as children we can’t have anything if we don’t earn it, but not only that, as we are taught as children about Santa, the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy and then learn of the lie, and what betrayal feels like, losing a great deal of hope and trust in all those that taught them to us. Then when we turn to god and hope we can truly trust him we learn we are born in sin and are incapable of such complete trust in life and those around us. However by faith we ever so slowly learn to trust only god but get frustrated that there is so many painful lessons we need to learn, and they are even more painful than the original betrayal and this causes doubt and a reminder of our unworthiness even when we have a very personal understanding that god is there. Then there is the reminder of who decided what should and shouldn’t be included in the bible and how it was designed to control people, as a government would, ordering obedience after complicating the 10 commandments forgetting that the lord sent Jesus and the new testament to replace the old, causing confusion with 2 sets of rules,and the worlds governments using the 10 commandments as the basis of the law and worse still keep changing it to suit themselves showing greed for power over others and money. None of this is designed to encourage us to hear god or do his will as the punishment of disobedience is public disgrace and all because we want to believe in god and try to do right in the eyes of god, but survive the evil around us at the same time.
That leaves me with 3 questions,
1. Why would god allow all this, as we are encouraged to be happy in the lord ?
2. Is it all to educate the fallen angels spoken of in the bible and Satan himself and give them the same hope Jesus gave us ?
Because god stated in the bible that he would not be willing to give up a single soul and we all including the fallen ones are created by god.
3. Are our lives and the pain we suffer able to benefit others who all have been disgraced and condemned by the entire world population ?
I hope so as at least I feel there is a higher purpose in it all then and i have that little bit more strength to hold on to those hopes and dreams I have been taught and told are worthless and totally hopeless.
Thanks for your great observations. It’s fantastic to hear how you look at the world. Let me answer you simply. God created us not because He was lonely, but because He is love. And so He wanted us to experience His love. He always knew of course that we’d turn our backs on Him and the moment we did, this world became an imperfect one.
The whole of the Old Testament to me is a bold declaration by Him that a bilateral covenant(two-way, or conditional covenant – I’ll do this if you do that, but if you don’t ….) between a perfect God and an imperfect humanity was never going to work. “Israel” means literally “he struggles with God”. Ain’t that the truth! That’s what the whole of the Old Testamentt is about.
No surprise to God of course. He always knew that that’s how it would be. And so His “Plan A” was always, always, the New Covenant; Jesus.
Why did God allow this? Because that’s how He chose to reveal Himself. The Bible is His perfect Word, given to us through imperfect people. You just have to look at the religious leaders of Jesus’ day and how they perverted it into controlling religion. It was never meant to be so.
And now, all those who seek Him, must walk the One Way to find Him. By grace we are saved, through faith.
Why did God create the world this way? Why did He set things up the way they are? Firstly to give us a free will to choose – and obviously choosing against Him has dire consequences. But principally for this reason:
From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us.
My suggestion for you is this. At the moment, you are looking at the whole God thing from a “glass half empty” perspective. Turn it around – look at it from a “glass half full” perspective.
And my hunch is what you’ll find is that actually, the glass is overflowing.
Thank you again. Be blessed,
Hi, I find these findings quite alarming. It seens like a religious attitude to God’s word rather then a living and anticipating one. We should be expectant of God to move in our lives as we choose to cooperate with Him. Jesus says we are to abide in Him. I have recently learned to ask God and expect Him daily to bless me with surprises each day. Something good is going to happen and it does! I am experiencing more of His peace and His prescence in my day to day life. I talk to Him all the time. About everything. From the shopping list to major decisions.
What a joy christians miss in not taking up opportunities to witness Christ in so many ways. There is joy in sharing Christ . I love telling others about what He has done for me. Yet, there is price to pay. Are we willing to die to self and trust Him “though He slay me”. I lost my husband two years ago, we lost a son. As for me, like Jacob and the angel, I will not let go of God even if he takes everything from me. one thing worth treasuring in this life Faith In God.
I feel that God does not seem to want to help me for reasons that I cannot understand.I pray and pray and nothing ever seems to happen. Nothing ever seems to go right.Or if it does and I think that finally the answer is here , suddenly something else goes bad again. I try my hardest to serve him and to love him but things just seem to go from bad to worse.I realise that God isn’t Santa Claus and required to give me everything I want but it is very frustrating when your prayers don’t seem to be answered the way they are for everyone else. And when people who couldn’t care less about God get the great life.I want victory but I just don’t know what else I am supposed to do. God just seems unpleasable
Don’t give up.just as Job didn’t understand but kept on trusting that God was in control.& I will keep you in my prayers for a time
can I say that I have a real sense of what you’re going through. There’s a time – quite a way back now – in my life where it felt the same. And having worked my way through to the other side, can I tell you this. I know that God is pleased with you. I know that He loves you more than words can ever say. He has never left you and never forsaken you. There are times when everything seems to go wrong and nothing seems to go right. That doesn’t mean He’s punishing us. Disciplining us – perhaps. Pruning us so that we’ll bear more fruit – absolutely.
Suffering is never fun. Ever. But in your lifetime, this is probably the greatest opportunity that the Lord will ever hand you. The opportunity to draw close. The opportunity – amidst the inky blackness of the present – to experience the wonder of His Light. The opportunity to forge your relationship with Him, in the fiery trials of life.
I remember a time in my life where nothing that anyone else said or did came anywhere near to being close to helping. The one person who made a difference was Jesus. I wouldn’t wish those times on my worst enemy. I wouldn’t swap them for the world.
Your brother in Christ,
‘I remember a time in my life where nothing that anyone else said or did came anywhere near to being close to helping. The one person who made a difference was Jesus. I wouldn’t wish those times on my worst enemy. I wouldn’t swap them for the world.’
Those words really touched me – I recently went through a similar experience, which really began after an operation and a long stay in hospital. While I was in hospital, I was so vulnerable that I had no choice but to rely on God’s grace. Luckily, after side-lining God for about a year in my life, this time I couldn’t escape His amazing gifts of healing, grace and faith. By God’s grace, in hospital, I managed to put the suffering of others over my own. I had believed that others were in a worse condition than I was, and that their pain was far greater than mine!(That’s not typical for me, lol)Imagine my shock when the doctors told me afterwards that I had almost died and that I was the worst one on the ward! They even called me ‘’the girl with the nine lives’’ because I had survived! Because of Christ I hadn’t even noticed that I was dying – I felt more alive than anyone there. My parents, church friends and family visited me and prayed for me at my bedside, but even when I was alone at night, even when I was depressed at my own body, and later frustrated at all the things that I could not do/control in my life, God was making me more than a conqueror in these times. After my stay in hospital, I went through a lot of difficulties with my faith – realising that I’d had a lot of pride and that my priorities had been all wrong…
But even now God is making me realise more and more that I can’t even obey Him without Him, and that nothing I have is mine anyway. I can’t meet His high standards by trying to meet them all by myself. I’m not living in Christ if I try to earn grace, by trying to live well off my own efforts and then failing and feeling inadequate – that’s why Jesus died for me and made His grace freely available, so that I wouldn’t have to go through all that. He made me to be in a relationship with Him, and to have more life. Even though sometimes it can feel like the hardest thing for me to do is to see myself the way He sees me (Ephesians 2 v 8-10, Galatians, Colossians), because God is great (and the greatest), I’m not beyond hope. It’s a bit like Romans 8 v 18: ‘I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us’. Also thank you Berni for your Christianityworks radio shows they really help me a lot. I began listening to them after my operation, they always seem to tell me just what I need to hear :).
What an utterly awesome testimony of God’s grace. He has brought you such a long way in your depth of understanding of what grace really is.
When people in future say to you “Wow, you seem to have such a good handle on grace,” you’ll be able to say to them “That’s because I’ve experienced it firsthand”.
May He bless you richly,
Oh Berni, Please don’t leave us hanging like that.
But I couldn’t agree with you anymore, There ARE NO EXCUSES,to live a life of victory. God gave us all the tools we need to achieve it, Body, Holly Spirit & The Bible.
I would like to point out that some of the reasons we are so dedicated to the words and yet we still starve:
We live primarily in a Greek ideology world, our reasoning and structures are mostly Greek.
i.e Democracy was invented in Athens by the Greeks, Sports is also Greek. There is absolutely nothing about these two in the Bible.
But the Bible was written by Hebrews (Jews), and so everything it teaches, it does it with a Hebrew ideology, and not Greek.
I’m not here to discuss ideologies, but two key differences between these two is that…
The Greeks believe on the separation between the Body & Spirit, and Hebrews saw it as one.
The Greeks needed explanation & reasoning before action, and Hebrews will action first then ask for explanation.
“And as of today, we Christians have a good understanding of the words (bible) but we’re distant in the understanding of the dynamics of the Holly spirit”
and hence we still starve?.
As Christians, our Body & Holly Spirit is one, which means…(It’s not just words, but also what we do)
If Bible teaches A, then we need apply A to our life without questioning.
Corinthians 6: 19-20 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
I have always tried to reason the bible, perhaps if I reason less, and obey more, the spirit will ignite and I will starve less?
All Glory to God.
Could it be that we spend too much time trying to get God to support our directions rather than seeking Him to find the good works that he has prepared for us to do (Ephesions 2:10). The result of trying to align God to our will is frustration in our prayer life and an apparent lack of victory.
For years we have been told that we must read Scripture regularly and communicate with God in prayer – the quiet time. But it isn’t a magic formula unless it is accompanied by obedience to what God reveals to us in scripture and what God communicates to us in prayer.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,…” I guess we need to assess why are we reading Scripture and praying? Has it become a religious requirement or is our objective to seek God through His Word and prayer, to know him, understand what he wants us to do and obey Him.
I wish the practice was as easy as the logic
i tnink we settle for less because we often feel undeserving and are sinners. I know in the past i really struggled with receiving the best from God because i failed so often in my walk with God and did not feel worthwhile. AFter all these years i think i am finally understanding just how much God loves me even though he knows i am going to mess things up on my journey and do wrong things. I am learning to not beat myself up so much when i do something wrong and get back on track faster.
Dianne, I totally agree with you. That’s one of the key reasons. If the truth be known, the fathomless grace of God and the forgiveness that flows from His heart go so much against the flow of this world, that it feels somehow unnatural for us to come to grips with them. Thank God for His Holy Spirit!
i LIKE THIS SITE, BUT EVEN MORE NOW, THIS ADDED NEW BLOG
IT ARTICULATES OUR THINKING TO THE EXTENT MOST OF US DON’T BOTHER TO DO..if find myself thinking more about what I read here, *(which is a good thing) “Thank You Berni” (it’s like having a friend here present if only for a few min. it takes to read it…and that goes a long, long way!