In many western countries there have been some significant shifts in people’s stated beliefs in recent decades.
Just recently in the UK, a survey showed 48% of people saying they do not believe in God, compared to 44% who say they are Christian and 8% of another religion. The Spectator magazine for instance had a May article with the title “Britain really is ceasing to be a christian country”.
In an ISPO survey of Dutch people last year, just over 25% said they are atheists compared to 17% who believe in God. The rest (58%) being in a middle ground of ‘don’t know’.
How do such statistics cause you to react? Take a moment to consider your reaction.
Some would say that such figures reflect that countries like the Netherlands or the UK are increasingly “post-christian”. Some might say that this is a good thing even.
You may or may not be a Christian believer reading these words. I am guessing most will be believers. If you are a Christ follower, how do such statistics make you react?
Whilst we may be saddened by such figures, do we have to be defeated by them or give up in despair? I fully realise that it could be easy to start thinking to give up believing that many can still come to know Christ. I don’t know about you, but I have had moments like that.
Yet in a way, what an opportunity around us, for many lives to be touched! Let it stir in us a fresh call to know the Lord’s presence in our lives and to pray on behalf of others.
Society in many ways, in a country like this has clearly been stripped of the suggestion that it is a Christian nation. Many have no real idea about what the Christian faith is about and in particularly who Jesus Christ is. What an opportunity!
Not an opportunity for us to preach AT people! Rather with the Lord’s help, a calling to live out following Him, praying for those around us, listening to other’s life journeys, serving, being open for opportunities to be able to speak about Christ and share His love with others.
Here are some words of Jesus from the 1st century which are just as relevant for now,
“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9:37-38)
Do we believe that we can be part of the answer to that prayer? Are we open to having a fresh sense of being ‘sent’ into our families, friendships, neighbourhoods, work and study places to express the love of Christ?
Post-christian Netherlands? May be! Christian faith dying out? No way! Opportunity? Absolutely! When Christianity first began to spread in the 1st century, most people by definition were not Christians! Yet many then came to know Christ.
All these centuries on, Christ has not changed – he is “the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) How might He impact the lives of those around us?
Thanks for reading,
Grace and Truth