You know that distinctive sound of an object being thrust into a box fan? Kind of a really fast repetitive thud? Yeah – I had the pleasure of hearing that noise a few nights ago as my kids were playing upstairs. Followed by a gasp.
“What hit the fan?” was my immediate – and a little bit worried – question. Nathan sheepishly came down the stairs holding his hand. “What hit the fan?” I asked again.
“I think my finger got in there.”
“You think your finger got in there?”
How many times do we give God those kind of answers?
“I think some unloving words came out of my mouth.”
“I think my temper got lost.”
“I think my eyes looked at those pictures. Again.”
This Sunday I talked to the Renovate men about obedience. We looked at John 14.15 – “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” For followers of God, obedience is not an option. God is love and we want to obey him.
But Nathan’s experience with the fan teaches us another important lesson: When we disobey God, we hurt ourselves. Are you lying to your employer? Guess who gets fired when they find out. Looking at images or movies you shouldn’t be? Guess whose relationships are going to be destroyed. Putting control, pleasure, image, wealth…ahead of God? Guess whose life will be empty, lonely, and filled with fear.
Fortunately Nathan’s finger didn’t suffer any damage this time. But he certainly learned the lesson we have told him time and time again. Will you be wise enough to learn that lesson, too.
“If you love me, you will obey what I command.” — Jesus
Filed under Main, Ministry
Ever had this conversation with God?
You are always righteous, O Lord, when I bring a case before you. But I would speak with you about your justice.
These are the words of the prophet Jeremiah (12:1) and I’ve been there. Plenty of times. As my grandma would say, “God, I have a bone to pick with you!”
I got very curious about Jeremiah’s challenge to God – to “speak with” Him, so I did a few simple word studies. And I was blown away.
- “Righteous” = right, lawful, correct – specifically in governing, in one’s cause, in conduct and character, in what you DO
- “bring a case” = to strive; to contend; to disagree; to argue
- “speak” = to talk; to communicate; to “chat”
- “justice” = judgments; decisions; processes
Notice the contrasts between “righteous” and “justice”. And between “bring a case” and “speak”.
So here is how I would rewrite Jeremiah’s thought: “God, you are always right in what you DO. I know I can count on you DOING the right thing, even when I argue with you. But … can we chat about your decisions.”
Or even simpler: “God, let’s talk. I don’t want to argue – you always win. I want to start from a posture of trust and faith. But I really want to understand you on this one…”
Does this sound like your prayer life? Do you approach God seeking to understand Him, or ready to pick a fight? He is big enough to handle both, but I wonder if we’d be better off to come seeking to understand Him instead of getting Him to understand us.
Your thoughts? I’d really love to hear from you.
The other day I was driving my kids somewhere and saw a license plate I thought they would like. “Hey guys. Can you see what that license plate says?” Some muttering and guessing from the back seat. Then Nathan rang out – “Simba lover”!
I continued, pointing out the frame – “I’m wild about lions!” and waxing eloquent (according to me) for a few minutes about how that person apparently liked lions and the Lion King movie, blah blah, blah. The kids grunted, feigning interest, until I concluded my talk.
After a few seconds of awkward silence, Anne mused.
“Cartoon lions. That’s sort of an odd thing to love.”
I love some pretty odd things, too. Don’t you? TV Shows? Notre Dame Football? Spaghetti? I get pretty excited about those things. I look forward to enjoying them. I carve out time so there aren’t distractions. I get emotionally involved in how they turn out. I reminisce and remember and relive the highlights. But at the end of the day, those are sort of odd things to love.
David has the right idea. “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.” Psalm 119:97 (ESV)
How often do you look forward to spending time with God’s Law? Are you as disciplined at carving out time to read The Word as you are at setting up the DVR? Do you get as emotionally involved in God’s story as you do the trials and travails of your team’s season? Or your show’s storyline? Or the lives of the (pretend) people on TV?
And maybe a better question – What can we do to stop loving odd things and start loving the only thing that matters?