We live in a world that is constantly asking questions. "What's the big deal about believing in God?" "What difference will it make in my life?" "How can I believe in a God who will punish me for not believing in Him?" These are some of the questions that have been asked to Christians by unbelievers. I think that all of these are misguided questions, and I would like to take a minute to address them.
So, what is the big deal about believing in God? I think that the person who asks this question is missing the point. If what we think about God were not such a big deal, then why do militant atheists try to push failed arguments against His existence? The point is that we all know that what we think about God will affect how we live our lives. However, this question is misguided in another way.
Ultimately, God does not simply want us to believe in Him. He wants to have a relationship with us. He wants to talk to us, and for us to talk to Him. The person who makes a big deal about the existence of God is missing the mark and failing to see the bigger picture. The question is not "What's the big deal about believing in God?" Rather, the more important question is, "What's so important about being in a relationship with God?" The short answer is that it is of the utmost importance.
So what difference will this make in your life? The answer is that you are influenced the most by those who are the closest to you. What you believe about God will affect how you live. Whether or not you walk with Him will affect how others live. Knowing God and walking with Him brings hope, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. It will not only change your life and give you hope in the darkest of times, but your walk with God will also shine through to others.
Some have asked the question, "How can I believe in a God who will punish me for not believing in Him?" This question is misguided. Any punishment received from God is because of disobedience, not merely for choosing not to believe. Besides, this question is akin to asking, "How can I believe that a judge would sentence me to prison if I commit a crime?" It's not a matter of belief. Judges like this exist, and God most certainly does exist. It's a matter of truth, not a matter of belief. It is misguided and careless not to believe that a judge will sentence you to prison should you commit a crime worthy of prison. In the same way, it is misguided and careless not to heed God's word. However, there is one more thing that must be addressed in regards to this question.
This question is misstated, as well.The question should not be, "How can I believe in a God who will punish me for not believing in Him?" Instead, the question should be, "How can I reject the loving and holy God who, by His grace, allowed me to wake up this morning? Especially since He knows about every single time I have 'stabbed Him in the back'." The truth is that this question betrays an entitlement mentality. But we are not entitled to anything. Everything we receive is by His grace. This is something we must always keep in mind.