It is easy from time to time to fall into a very narrow view of God. I catch myself frequently thinking about God primarily through the lens of his love and faithfulness. I have seen repeatedly through my life the truth in what David writes; God’s love truly does reach to the heavens and his faithfulness to the skies. And yet I don’t spend as much time contemplating God’s righteousness and justice.
I frequently catch myself falling into a common trap we see today in our Western World, where I would rather live in a world where bad things don’t have to happen for God to get the attention of his people. I want to create God in my own image instead of remembering that I was created in his. I want to say things to myself and to others along the lines of, “Well, a loving God would…” and then philosophize about how I would do things if I were God and project those items onto my heavenly father.
This is the level of thankfulness and adoration I want to have for Jesus and the sacrifice that he made on my behalf. I want to walk through life with a childlike wonder at the fact that the God of the Universe loved me enough to take on human form and pay the ultimate price for my sins knowing that I could never earn it on my own. I want his praise to always be on my lips.
It is so much simpler, in our meme-centric world, to want nothing more than to take the statement, “The Bible is God’s word and every portion of it infallible.” and take that to mean we can take any passage out of context, throw it over a beautiful picture, post it online, and it will share God’s truth.
The world desperately wants us to live according to the flesh. We are bombarded by stimulus that encourages us to stop worrying so much about loving God and loving others, but instead to focus on our own status, wealth, appearance, social life, material possessions, etc.
God says, “Trust in me fully. See what happens. If you would just turn over your entire day, week, month, and year to me, you would feel my love absolutely surrounding you throughout the entire day. Let me shower you with my love. I just need you to trust me fully and not just with an hour or two before becoming distracted by your normal worries, stresses, and anxieties you have been allowing to control your day. I am right here with you. I just need you to turn and embrace me.”
For so long I wanted to win the war against sin. I wanted to wage that war that Paul described and emerge victorious. If I could somehow put the right systems in place, have the right accountability, form the right habits, read the right books, do all the right things; surely I could conquer this. Surely my spirit could conquer my flesh!
I have often heard that it is almost impossible to kick a bad habit without replacing it with a good one. If all you are doing is striving so hard to not sin, focusing on developing your will power more and more every day so that you can avoid that stumbling block, you inevitably trip over it again…and again…and again.
When we see others who bounce back quickly from adversity and wonder how they are able to see God’s hand at work in that challenge; it is easy to forget the hours and hours they probably spent in the “spiritual gym” preparing for that moment. It is easy to forget there was probably a lot of suffering in that spiritual training ground, that resulted in a lot of perseverance being developed, that built a lot of character, that paved the way for that ability to hope.