“13 When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is this: fear God and keep his commands, because this is for all humanity. 14 For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
Now, I know I started with a Bible verse, but my friend who does not love Jesus, please stay with me. I kindly ask that you hear what I have to say and if you absolutely hate it, never visit my blog again if that is what you choose, but I humbly ask that you give me a chance. As I try to understand your worldview, I ask that you at least try to understand mine.
I finished reading Ecclesiastes recently and my non-Christian friends, I genuinely believe you would find it as radical as your Christian friends do. Take out the “God parts” and I think we would both high-five each other while wincing in pain as we still see the depressing realizations of Ecclesiastes pour out in our society. It describes every single problem we see in our US culture. The book itself can be wrapped up in one sentence, “We’re all just going to die anyway so what is the point to all this vanity?” I humbly ask you to read all twelve chapters; you would get a kick out of it.
Truthfully, the book is kind of a kill-joy and I think in the least cynical way that is why it’s my favorite book of the Bible. It compares the things to this world as futile and chasing pleasure or success or knowledge as to chasing the wind.
“11 When I considered all that I had accomplished and what I had labored to achieve, I found everything to be futile and a pursuit of the wind. There was nothing to be gained under the sun.” Ecc. 2:11
Consider that phrasing: under the sun. I can relate to chasing wind and being so entangled in the temporary desires and pleasures of this world. Can I be the first to admit that there is way too much on my plate, in terms of responsibilities and extracurriculars? I am not sleeping well and yet can I also be the first to admit that I love talking about it? There’s this twisted built-in pride that comes with being busy. We love the admiration and applaud we receive from being busy to the point that our health suffers. Why are we like this? What are we trying to prove and why?
After Solomon, who I believe was the author of Ecclesiastes, goes about and shares how nothing matters and chasing wealth, pleasure, success, etc. is worthless, he ends by sharing that Scripture I provided in the beginning. Granted he does touch on how important it is to invest and enjoy life. Do not be mistaken. Yet, that’s the meaning of life? Just fear God and obey all His commandments? That’s it? I know my, non-Christian friends. There is nothing appealing about that sentence but stay with me. Let me explain.
Fear God; I often think it means to acknowledge who He is. It reminds me of His sovereignty, love, grace, wisdom, omnipresence, etc. It’s not a fear-filled fear. It’s not like a “Oh-no, dad is going to be furious…I should hide…”, but more of a respectful acknowledgement you would have for your parents or for your boss. It’s a healthy fear. Please do not get the wrong impression of Jesus just because you have had imperfect people try to explain a perfect God. Fear God to me means to understand that there is something greater than yourself. There is something meaningful above the sun.
“18 There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears is not complete in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 18-19
But still, that’s the conclusion? We are to fear God and obey all His commandments. Before I talk about commandments, the only thing I want you, my non-Christian friends to understand is salvation is by faith alone through Christ alone. It is about your faith in Christ and acknowledging Jesus is Lord. Go read Romans 10:9. Go and be saved.
Yet even knowing that, “obey all His commandments” still rubs you the wrong way and I can understand that. Here’s my thoughts, solely as in how Kira Murillo thinks about commandments. If you can truly get behind the idea of fearing The Lord, everything else about Christianity makes enough sense. If you can believe God is truly loving and all-knowing, it makes sense that these commandments are written out of love and written out of infinite wisdom. I think the “problems” we have with God is due to our lack of understanding. Everything I have heard against Christianity starts with the misinterpretation of God’s character.
Honestly, it’s not that difficult to prove that the Christian God exists, more often than not people choose to not follow God because we have a problem with the morals or “laws” that we misunderstand. I get it; it’s not natural to follow a lot of them, especially in a world that preaches “do what makes you happy.” In fact, it’s not enjoyable to always follow them.
For me, I try to out of this intense desire to do so and to live a life that glorifies God. That desire is not natural but one that I continually work on because I love Jesus and I love people. Part of the reasons for these commandments remind me of an incredibly healthy relationship between children and parents. “I love you so much, so much to tell you to not touch the stove even though your finite mind might never understand it.” Your parents love you because they choose to, like God. As kids, we do not benefit them in any way. We do nothing for them except cry, yet we are loved fully, regardless if we touch the stove. Similarly but to a greater understanding, Jesus loves us even though we’re all bad people. Friends, I am an utterly sin-filled person saved by grace. His unconditional love reminds me to not stress out about following commandments or pretending to be a “perfect Christian”. Sure, I try hard and I truly want to follow them, but I do not question His love or my worth when I fall short. My salvation is locked. His unconditional love for me is secured. Do you have any idea how freeing that feels?
In the New Testament, when asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus says this: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.38 This is the greatest and most important command. 39 The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” Matthew 22:37-40
Because Christ loved me first and because He died for my sins even though I did not deserve it whatsoever, I lovingly want to follow God and His commandments. I am not worried about losing my salvation. I follow Jesus and His commandments out of respect and admiration for all who He is and all that He has done. It’s in the same way you obey your parents but on a much higher level because your parents are imperfect people. After learning about God and developing this deep love for Him and people, I want to live a life that glorifies His name. You don’t have to be a certain “type” of person to love and follow God. I promise you that, faith alone, Christ alone.
I ponder on Ecclesiastes and its relevancy. The things we chase today move constantly, and my friends, you know how frustrating it is to chase a moving target. At what point are you truly satisfied? Do you honestly think that doing what makes us happy is the meaning to life? Listen, I understand if you hate God and you hate His commandments, it reminds me of times where I did not like the rules my parents implemented for me. Over time, I see that it was out of this love and wisdom that I could not understand at the time. But I get it, culture and God disagree with each other at times, but who is to say we, those with finite minds, can even begin to understand what might be best for us? We do what’s right in our own eyes but who is to say we could potentially be wrong about our assumptions.
“Just as you don’t know the path of the wind, or how bones develop in the womb of a pregnant woman, so also you don’t know the work of God who makes everything.” Ecc. 11:5
Spoiler alert, Jesus does not tell you to do what makes you happy. But the profound thing about following God is there are not any moving targets with Christianity. Following Jesus does not guarantee an easy life, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. How’s that for a selling point? But in the 21 years that I’ve lived with times where I have been devoted to God and other times I have nearly walked away from my faith, I understand the need for a Savior. I better understand Jesus. From my personal experience, I have found more satisfaction in understanding God’s character and anything above the sun than anything the world has to offer. I have found more contentment and freedom in following Jesus rather than doing what makes me happy. Consider it. Question everything I say, as you should. Do your own research. Read the book of Ecclesiastes.
“11 He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also put eternity in their hearts, but no one can discover the work God has done from beginning to end” Ecclesiastes 3:11