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  • Writer's pictureJohn Hubble

Hey Christian!


By John Hubble


Are you awake? Consider your waking hours—those hours during a 24-hour day, seven-day week period when you’re not asleep. Allowing 8 hours a day for sleep, that’s about 112 hours a week you’re awake, depending upon individual circumstances.

As a Christian, not counting commute time, you spend maybe two hours a week attending church service. This leaves 110 hours of awake time remaining. Accounting for another eight hours involved in direct Christian related activities (mid-week church, Bible study, prayer group, devotion time, volunteer work, etc.), there are approximately 102 hours of awake time left. 


So, 102 hours, or roughly 91%, of your awake time is spent outside the 9% of the time directly related to Christian activity. (I’m sure there are many who devote much more of their awake time to Christian activity, by the way. Just as I’m sure there are many who devote much less.) That 102 hours of awake time is likely involved in activities that take place in the world (work, school, social interaction, entertainment, and so on).


The question is, how do we conduct ourselves during those times we are involved in those activities taking place in the world? If 9% of awake time is devoted to directly related Christian activity, does that leave the remaining 91% to non-Christian activity? Well, yes—and no.


Yes, if you’re a practical atheist.

What?!


A practical atheist. A practical atheist is one who holds an intellectual commitment to belief in God but thinks, feels, and behaves as if there were no God (defined by Rubel Shelly, author, minister, and professor at Lipscomb University and former president of Rochester University).


The Apostle Paul wrote about people who claim to know God but deny Him by the way they live. It’s in the first chapter of his letter to Titus, verse 16. For our purposes, a practical atheist is one who believes in God, conforming to Christian values when directly engaged in Christian activities, but conforming to worldly standards when directly engaged in activities associated with the world.


Now, most professing Christians I know would take offense at the very thought of being considered an atheist, practical or otherwise. If you asked someone at church you know to be a Christian if they believed in God—His grace and provision for redemption through His Son, Jesus Christ—the response would likely be a resounding, heartfelt and biblical “Yes!” That would be the 9% directly related to Christian activity response. Behavior, values, and language would reflect this. 


Certainly, you, other Christians, and I—we profess God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and redemption—especially when it’s inside the safety of our Christian circles. But outside that circle, outside the church—outside our 9% directly related to Christian activity time, what do we look like to the world? What do we look like in our workplace, school and in social interaction? What do we gravitate to in entertainment? 


Does our presence elicit a desire in those around us to experience what we are experiencing as children of God—as those reconciled to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ? Or have we become so desensitized to the presence of Christ in us as we live and function in the world that we exemplify His Good News for us as bad news for everyone else? Is it possible that Satan has influenced us so?


Christian, I know you would not even think of denying God. But our actions sometimes betray His presence in us. We lose track of the example we are to be to others, especially to those who do not yet know Christ as their redeemer. 


We are to be the light in a world getting increasingly darker, Christian. Jesus said it: “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a lampstand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:14-16, NLT).

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