Letting God Be God by Casey Michelson

Psalm 14:1 (53) "The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good."

This verse immediately posed two questions for me: who are the foolish, and can they truly do no good? As I sat on this for the past two days and researched more into the context of these verses, I found that a "fool of the heart" here isn't low in intelligence but low in morality. A fool may even know God's existence to be written on their conscience but still convince themselves "there is no God" in how they continue to live in rebellion against Him to support the lifestyle they've chosen. Ultimately, apart from God, they become their own God—their own gauge for right and wrong—and are disconnected from any sense of absolute morality. This is what corrupts them and causes them to do abominable things in the sight of God.

That brings us to the final clause of the verse: referring to the morally foolish, "there is none who does good." Is this true? Through the lens of the world, absolutely not: "doing good" can be defined by success, money, power, and maybe occasionally helping out a neighbor. The only "good deed" on that list would be helping another, but even still, God is the ultimate goodness WITHIN us, and if one is foolishly pushing Him out of their heart, then all the "good" things they do have no value: there is no "goodness" with out His goodness.

How does this all apply to me? Well, without a deep analysis and time in thought and prayer on this verse (and entire Psalm), I would've easily found a way to weaponize it, fueling a distaste in my heart for those who are far from God. Rather, with the time I've spent in meditation and thought, I've thought of hundreds of people who've been close to me but far from God throughout my life — and this breaks my heart. I've wrestled with the helplessness in not being able to shape their hearts for Christ, and I have to constantly remind myself  that I'm not in control: it's not up to me.

I take comfort in the fact that God is good and righteous and will give everyone equal (though different) opportunity to put their faith in Him. He will call those who He chooses to call, and followers will be made of those who choose to answer—there's no, "Casey goes in and fabricates a relationship with Jesus for a nonbeliever on God's behalf" in there. While this is so, prayer is desperately needed. So, I pray this now for my family and friends and strangers who are lost:

Lord, you are the king of all: believers and the lost. Guide us as believers to not lose hope for the lost that we may continue to be present for them and carry out your will. Whatever that may be, God, make it clear to us. And for the lost, Lord, I pray that they allow the walls around their hearts to fall, and the scales over their eyes be lifted — may they know that you've been trying to reach them for a long time: through their friends and family of faith and especially through your love. Thank you for your love, God, and it's in Jesus, the king of love, in Jesus name we pray. Amen.