Carey Lewis Devotions
Wednesday, March 11th, 2015
Outsiders (Part 6)
Atheists and Agnostics
He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself,

And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself.

Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you;

Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;

Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

Proverbs 9:7-9 (NKJV)
I have friends and family who are atheists and agnostics. I search for good channels of communication. If I push the Lord, they're uncomfortable. If I push the world, I'm uncomfortable. So I strive for common ground, like Jesus did with the woman at the well: the right combination of sensitivity and boldness.*

But before I make the effort, I ask God for discernment. Because non-believers can fall in one of two categories: 1) scornful scoffers, and 2) curious intellectuals.

'Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come' (2 Peter 3:3), 'Whose minds the god of this age has blinded' (2 Corinthians 4:4). 'A scoffer does not love one who corrects him' (Proverbs 15:12). Because 'He is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words' (1 Timothy 6:4). Your best reaction? Silence. 'Do not throw your pearls before swine' (Matthew 7:6).

On the other hand, consider two atheists-turned-Christians: 'When I was an atheist, I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable' (C.S. Lewis). 'I became a Christian because the evidence was so compelling that Jesus really is the one-and-only Son of God, Who proved His divinity by rising from the dead. That meant following Him was the most rational and logical step I could possibly take' (Lee Strobel).

Actors, models and talent for Christ: If you happen upon a curious non-believer, consider him cool, even cold... but in a good way. In His Letter to the Lukewarm Church in Laodicea, Jesus said: 'I wish that you were cold or hot' (Revelation 3:15).** In other words, atheists and agnostics are honest about their lack of faith. Honesty is a great place to start any relationship.

Even more, don't write off the effect of your witness on every currently godless person. C.S. Lewis put it this way: 'You must picture me alone... night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him Whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England' (Lewis' book, Surprised By Joy).

To Be Continued...

* The Woman At The Well:

** Letter to the Lukewarm Church:

P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Outsiders series.

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"I labored, yet not I. By the grace of God, I am what I am, and do what I do' (paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 15:10). I love God's Word. As a late-in-life committed Christian with no Bible training prior to age 51, some people wonder how I'm qualified to write devotions. I wonder that, too. But God loves children and fools for Him. I am both. Ghost Writer? God.

Carey Lewis

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