|Can you make a cake without flour?|
Last night, we were in bed reading our Bibles. Not because the world was ending and we were "covering our bases", but because it is something we started doing in 2012 and we actually enjoy it. Byron made an interesting observation. He said it seemed like God kept recreating the "Garden of Eden" for mankind. What he noticed, is that God kept giving humans a chance to "get it right" by making the right choice. In other words, in Eden, in Egypt, in the wilderness, God gave us choices: choose to obey Him, or choose to obey our own desires or impulses. Theoretically, it seems simple. In reality, it might be our biggest struggle.
For the people of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, until all the nation, the men of war who came out of Egypt, perished, because they did not obey the voice of the LORD; the LORD swore to them that he would not let them see the land that the LORD had sworn to their fathers to give to us, a land flowing with milk and honey.We often feel, and hear, that faith is all that matters. Faith is what matters. "I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life." (John 6.47) But what is faith? Is is just a feeling, or is it more? Faith is a two-part endeavor. First it is believing without proof. Secondly, it is choosing your actions based on your beliefs. If you say you believe, but you do not change your actions, how much do you really believe?
But he (Jesus) said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it! Luke 11:28We tend to shy away from matters of obedience. The idea of submission is difficult for our egos to accept. I personally enjoy a message at church that focuses on the love and grace of God. But that is an easy message. That message requires no action on our part. All of the action is coming from Him. Not much of a relationship is it? I have noticed that I am the least happy when I am trying to run the show. I have noticed that I am the most joyful when I am obeying Him, in the moment, one day at a time.
If your child says to you, "Mommy, I love you and I respect you so much," but then he picks up your favorite platter and smashes it in to the floor, do you feel loved and respected? Children make mistakes, but if they were to constantly make choices that hurt you, would you feel like the relationship was healthy?
What if your daughter said to you, "Dad, I really want to make better grades. Will you help me?" You would likely feel excited that she cares about her education. You would probably feel honored that she asked for your help. But what if you never saw her study? What if when you offered her your help, she wouldn't stop text messaging to sit down and receive your help? I wonder if that is how God feels when we ask him for help with our marriage, or our career, or our parenting. If we ask Him for His help but we are constantly being jerks to our spouses and kids, or displaying a poor attitude at work, why would He help us?
My boys used to always ask me to help them clean their rooms. I enjoy the company of my boys and enjoy helping them, so I would usually agree. But often I would begin helping them and then they would just sit there or begin playing with the toys that they were supposed to be picking up. I felt annoyed, unappreciated and a little duped. Guess what? I rarely help them clean their rooms now. I have learned that it is something that they need to do for themselves. But I wish I could help them without being taken advantage of because I could help them make their rooms super cool (and see them smile with the results).
Here is what Byron and I are earnestly focusing on right now:
- Believe that God is answering our prayers until He shows us otherwise.
- Do our very best to obey Him and to care for the blessings He has already given us.