January 2022 From the Desk of Dave
What kind of God are you looking for? I encounter many people who are bitter toward God or they malign Him because He’s “let them down”; others find fault with God in order to justify their sin. If God isn’t meeting their expectations or desires, He must not be as perfect as Christians think He is, right?
When I ask them to describe the perfect God, if they could create Him, there are several typical responses.
Inevitably they say He would allow no sin in the world, not realizing that there goes man’s free will! After all, we largely use our free will to sin. Another frequent comment is that He wouldn’t allow illness, suffering or death in the world. No free will there, either, since that comes with man’s sin.
They also want His creation to be perfectly loving, which is another limitation of our free will. We want others to be loving, but we, ourselves, come up embarrassingly short. Huh. It seems the problem is not God, after all, but in not having perfect man.
We want the perfect world, we just don’t do our part in contributing to it. Real love is an act of the will, a conscious decision of the soul. Love is a choice, otherwise we’d all have perfect love! With the decision to love comes the risk of the decision to not love, which is the decision to sin. Herein lies the problem! God has made us free within. Sadly, out of our lust, we use our freedom to choose bondage, and that bondage comes in many ways. We willingly trade the love for the lust. The problem is US, not God!!!
James 4:1-3 “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? You lust, and have not: you kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: you fight and war, yet you have not, because you ask not. You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts.” And yet, IN Christ we have hope in loving Him as we should!
The next criticism I tend to encounter is that God is harsh in His judgments. I then ask them if they would like the kind of God who doesn’t judge sin. In other words, we know we’re going to sin, but is judging that sin un-loving? Can you imagine living in a world where there was no law, justice or judgment of sin or crimes? I could take your truck, your home and your money (and maybe your life so you can’t take them back)- no judging means no recourse for you and no consequences for me. I would keep them until someone took them from me. If this were the case, our world would disintegrate into chaos and anarchy in short order. You can see it headed that direction in this country today; life without law, justice and judgments does not look like love! On the contrary: law, justice and judgment are the restraining element against lawlessness and anarchy in a society.
Even when they concede that law, justice, and judgment make sense, they will argue that some of the laws or moral codes don’t fit their paradigm of what is right or just. My answer to this is that perhaps this position leaves little room for God’s wisdom in creating His laws. If He is wise and powerful enough to create the world and all that is in it (us included), and He’s given us His wisdom in codes of conduct, then maybe we, the creation, ought to trust Him and His wisdom, even if it doesn’t add up in our wisdom. From everything we see in the world and His Word, does He seem like the kind of God Who is going to throw in some laws and commands that have no intrinsic value, just to see if we’re willing to jump through the hoops for the sake of obedience? I’ve studied some of those “questionable” commands and, as you come to understand them, they make perfect sense. They are for our good and well-being. They are good for society and are sound in wisdom.
Psa 19:7-11 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
I have personally found this passage to be true! I may not understand my Savior’s heart and mind, but I know He’s trustworthy. He created us and everything around us- He absolutely knows how we and His creation should be honored and cared for!
Last, there’s the often-asked question of whether God has the “right” to butt into our personal lifestyles, influencing decisions like who we marry or what we do with our bodies, etc.
To begin with, He loves us enough to care about our decisions. Our Creator has established and knows what is good and right, as well as what is bad and harmful for us. He is wise and just to instruct us in His Way and provide consequences to discourage us from leaving that path, drawing us back to His righteousness. Our Creator has the right to establish His moral code of what is right and what is wrong and they are not burdensome. He put the whole system together and, while we may think we are wiser than He, in truth, we are not. He has established what is righteousness and sin, what is freedom and bondage and what is love and what lacks love. We can choose our own way, but like God’s law of gravity, if we defy it, we must be prepared to pay the price.
Just about all of our guests are seeking answers to these questions, and the same is true with all of mankind. Is there a God? And, if there is, what is He like? Can I love and trust Him? We must take responsibility for our own actions and be ready to receive and accept the consequences when we don’t. I’m thankful for the freedom He has given us, and I’m grieved when I use that freedom to make the wrong decision. Ugh! I cannot blame Him for my foolishness, but I can praise Him for His relentless pursuit of me as I fumble through life. That is more than I can ask for, and certainly more than I deserve. My encouragement to our guests, and to you, is to pursue God in His Word and Spirit. I am fully convinced that, as you come to know Him as He truly is, you’ll see He is not the God that many say He is. He is much, much better: He is truly perfect in His love, and you can’t improve on perfect!
I am able to walk in this fallen world because He walks with me and is the love of my life, my hope for now and for eternity. So, what kind of God am I looking for? The One and only God Who is perfect love, the one that I have!!!
Hold these thoughts because I will be expanding upon them next month.