Religion has existed for centuries as people have tried to grasp both the vastness of the universe and the uniqueness of human existence. But now, with Oprah vouching for The Secret, Tom Cruise leading the way with scientology, and more and more people taking up yoga as a way to “free their soul,” spirituality seems to be overwhelmingly everywhere.
Are we in the midst of a spiritual influx?
Though it may seem that society is currently in an increased state of spiritual awareness, the hunger for something more than this physical world is nothing new to humanity. Both today’s explorations of spirituality and the practice of religion stem from the valid human desire to know absolute truth and fill the void inside that screams for meaning.
Blaise Pascal, a mathematician and philosopher from the 1600s is often quoted as saying, “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every person which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator.”
However, somewhere along the way it seems the institution of religion has largely failed the individual’s need. It has gone from being an honest pursuit of God to a systematic set of regulations, instructions, and dogma. It has not fulfilled its promises of purpose and hope. Religion has left its inventors feeling unsatisfied.
Why doesn’t religion fill the need?
The vacuum in our hearts cannot be filled by any created thing, and this includes man-made systems of belief. Instead, it can only be filled with a real and vibrant relationship with the Creator of all things. The solution is a relationship, not a religion.
This cry for relationship comes from our souls, from our spirits. The concept of a “soul” or “spirit” may sound mystical to some, but it is undeniable when looking at human behavior. A person’s soul is the part of them that feels heartbreak when a loved one dies, or homesickness when home is a million miles away.
The Band-aid solution of human relationship
Having been jaded by the institution of religion, this hunger for relationship drives people to do everything and anything for meaningful, lasting relationships in their lives. Single people may rush to marry, while unhappily married people sometimes have children in hopes of restoring their broken relationships. Others base their identity in their careers expecting to discover purpose and meaning in their successes.
But as divorce rates rise, children grow into autonomous individuals, and burned out executives contemplate suicide. None of what this world has to offer seems to be enough. The relationships which people rely on to complete them only create more raw edges and places of emptiness. The need for spiritual fulfillment becomes deeper and the hunger for relationship becomes more urgent.
Though people in our lives are not nearly perfect, the problem isn’t with the particular relationships in our lives. The issue is that the vacuum longing for relationship is in the shape of an everlasting, unchanging God. It cannot be filled with anything else or satisfied with anything less than a perfect creator. Relationships with other flawed humans only leave us wanting.
The only completely fulfilling relationship
The solution to this predicament is found in the conclusion of Pascal’s quote, “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every person which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”
Coming to know Jesus is neither about assigning yourself to the rules and regulations of an organized religion nor involving yourself in another broken human relationship.
Instead, it is in having a transformative encounter with the one who created you. God desires this sort of intimate and personal relationship with us. In order to make this happen, God came down as a person in the bodily human form of His son, Jesus, to be here with us. Jesus was both fully human, and thus able to experience our humanity, and fully God, being able to take on the sin of the world and pay for it with his perfect and holy life.
Jesus makes God known to us because he is God himself. He desires to be known to you today. Christ paid the price to restore us back to the relationship with God that we were always meant to have by his death and resurrection.
You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:
Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.
Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? You can pray it right now, and Jesus Christ will come into your life, just as He promised.