Lies We are Tempted to Believe
“I feel like I am letting God down”.
My friend’s words reverberated through the room, but before I had a chance to respond, the conversation moved in a different direction. I haven’t forgotten these words.
I wanted to say something about seasons of life or maybe something about how God sees us and what He desires for us. But as I have thought more about this simple statement, I have been struck by how quick we are to think this. As if God needs us to accomplish His purposes and gets disappointed when we don’t follow through.
It seems to me that when we think this way, we are thinking a little too much of ourselves and not enough of God. I don’t believe that God needs us in order for His plan to be carried out. Rather, He invites us to be a part of that plan. This invitation results in our good and God’s glory.
Learning this has been an incredible encouragement to my soul. I want to do so many things and it comes from a good motivation. But the season I am in does not allow for many of these things. My responsibilities involve the mundane, but necessary parts of keeping a home. And while I would love to pursue passions of mine, I have learned to be content in this place that God has put me. I don’t know if I will actually be able to finish writing this post before my baby wakes up. And while that will disappoint ME if I am not able to publish a new post, I don’t believe for a moment that I let God down. He doesn’t need me to share my words in order for him to be happy with me. I believe He receives the same amount of joy when I take care of my family, as he does when I write something.
“Letting God down” is not a possibility in my realm of thinking. Instead my question should be, am I seeking God’s glory?
“God didn’t come through,” another friend said as she shared a recent experience. I knew her heart and why she said what she did, but I still felt myself cringing a little at this. I was reminded of the quote from J.R.R. Tolkien in “The Fellowship of the Ring”…
A wizard is never late, nor is he early.
He arrives precisely when he means to.
I believe that this is true of God. He accomplishes His Will precisely when he means to. Oftentimes this is not according to OUR timing and we can feel the anxiety, the frustration or the hurt that results when we can’t see God’s hand at work or when things don’t make sense. But these feelings should not lead us to believe that God didn’t come through.
This morning, I was typing out my Daddy’s sermon on “The Testing of Abraham”. The passage that the sermon was based on is Genesis 22:1-14 where Abraham is asked to sacrifice his son, Isaac, out of obedience to God. It is a difficult, yet profound story of God’s faithfulness and one man’s complete trust in a Faithful God. My Daddy shared these thoughts…
At times, we have our back to the wall, we are hemmed in on every side, there seems to be no way through.
But through prayer and faith, God opens a way!
We can be tempted to think that our backs are against the wall and that we need God to come through, but isn’t this a trust in our own understanding? Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac, because he believed “that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead.” (Hebrews 11:19). We know from the rest of the story that God’s timing was different than Abraham’s. He planned to spare Isaac’s life, not raise him from the dead. But how often do we put our expectations on God and demand that he come through in our timing? Instead, our perspective needs to be that of Proverbs 3:5,6 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths”.
Sometimes the whole point of trials is to develop our character and our trust in God. My Daddy said this in another part of his sermon…
Life is a succession of tests, because true character is developed through tests, trials and tribulation.
It is through the trials of life, that we can be drawn into an intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father.
It is through the trials of life that we can gain the sweetest knowledge of Christ.
I don’t want to miss out on “the sweetest knowledge of Christ” because life didn’t happen the way I wanted it to!
Another disturbing trend that I see, I lie we might be tempted to believe, is that if we believe something is true, then we have the right to share that truth in whatever way we please. Too often there is a lack of humility in the sharing of truth, a putting down of others when different opinions occur (that are not contrary to scripture) and even a bullying behavior that has emerged among church leaders (and to be clear, I am not referring to my local church, but THE church, the kingdom of God).
My husband shared this status update yesterday on Facebook…
Lesson learned as I do sermon prep this week: Eschatology that does not lead to holy living is wrong no matter which view is embraced because scripture links Christ’s return with an urgent call to live rightly in the here and now.
As we discussed this concept this morning (have I mentioned that this is one of my favorite parts of being a pastor’s wife?!!), we talked about how theology in general must be shared with humility. We need to hold tightly to Christ, but hold theological systems loosely. And if we share our beliefs, but do so without love, then we must know that we are a “resounding gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1).
We do not get to beat others up for the systematic theology they hold onto (dialog about truth in scripture is appropriate, but putting others down to make your point is not). We do not get to demean others, because they have different preferences (I see this a lot when it comes to style of worship. Can we please stop that? Again, challenging in truth is appropriate when necessary; demeaning is not). We do not get to be bullies. What is this teaching our kids?!!! I have heard church leaders make fun of others who are different than them. I have heard pastors swear to get a rise out of people. I have watched the rise of the macho man in leadership and my heart cries out for humility! There is nothing stronger than a man of God who falls flat on his face in reverence for an Almighty God, one who lives out of this reverence. There is no place for bullying when we understand who we are in Christ.
We are tempted to believe many lies, some glaringly obvious, but some that are very subtle. I can look back on my college age self and see lies that I was tempted to believe. And I am sure that I will look back on myself from this time period and see the same thing. Our walk with Christ needs to be just that- A WALK, a journey. The scenery change is actually a new perspective that Christ is working in us.
Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that thou art;
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.