For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like Me,
Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
Saying, “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.”
Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass.
I have purposed it; I will also do it.
I have never been content with someone telling me, “That’s just the way it is.” I want to know the reasoning behind why things are the way are, and I’m always looking for ways to tweak, improve, or make things more efficient. In many ways, this has helped me to be successful in my endeavors, but it has also been a source of frustration for those in authority over me.
When I was in school I was a good student, but I chafed against assignments that I felt were “busy work” or a waste of time. It was the same at home. If my parents asked me to do something, or had some rule in place, I wanted to know that there was a good reason for it. (Good in MY opinion!) Inevitably, this led to conflict as I tried to convince my teachers and parents to see things my way.
There were many times when I would push too far. I would argue and cajole until I got myself in trouble! I can recall many times when my parents had to say something along the lines of, “I’ve already told you my answer. The conversation is over.” Now, my son is following in his father’s footsteps, and I deserve every bit of it. Haha!
Unfortunately, this desire manipulate people and circumstances—to get our way—is not something that we outgrow. For many of us, it is something that we must constantly watch out for or else it can have a negative effect on our relationships. It doesn’t even have to be something malicious. It can be something as simple and meaningless as choosing what to have for dinner, but we easily fall into the trap of putting our own wishes above others’.
However, the worst time we can do this is when it comes to God himself. Too often we want to pick and choose which parts of his Word we are going to follow. We cherry pick the things that are the least inconvenient to our lives and gloss over the rest. Other times, we try to bargain with God, as if his Law were unreasonable or outdated and we could somehow figure out a better way. Whenever Israel fell into this trap, the Lord was quick to remind them of just who they were talking to!
It’s this kind of thinking that has led to the crisis of faith so many modern believers and churches are currently experiencing with regards issues where God has already given clear instructions. They have lost their conviction about the witness and authority of Scripture, and have substituted their own conceptions righteousness and holiness to their detriment. They might feel better about themselves and their faith might be more palatable to the world, but they have abandoned God’s infallible truth for limited human understanding. That is a dangerous place to be.
Each time you approach Scripture, you must do so from a position of humility. God is not looking for your opinion or approval. He’s already decided the matter. The conversation is over. The question is whether you will live under the authority of God’s Word, or make it up as you go along? I know what I’m choosing…
PRAYER: Father, thank you for the gift of your revealed Truth. We don’t have to wonder what it means to live a life of righteousness. You told us, and then Jesus showed us. Help us to be obedient to your Word and Christ’s example. Amen.