Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Examine Yourselves

I knew a guy who doubted his faith in God. He questioned whether or not God really loved him because things weren’t working out in his life like he had originally thought they should. Though he had lived on his own terms for most of his life, he had been miserable. It was only after believing God and committing to follow Jesus and to live for Him that this man began to see a turn around.

Yet forgiveness and salvation don’t always do away with all the consequences of sin. Poor decisions in the past were now creeping up on him again and he wanted to know why God wasn’t helping. In his mind, God was supposed to get him out of the jams he had gotten himself into, and since God wasn’t working the way he expected, he questioned whether he should follow God at all.

I’ve heard Andy Stanley quoted as saying that most people initially attend the local gathering of the church and come to believe in Christ out of selfish motives. Perhaps we want to be spared eternal judgment. Maybe we think our kids need to grow up in a positive environment. Whatever the reason, it is usually later on down the road of sanctification that we come to love God for who He is and we choose to follow Him out of love for Him, not love for self. 
But to get us to the point where we love God for who He is and what He has done instead of because of what we expect Him to be and to do, He has to tear apart the scaffolding of belief we’ve erected until either we fall and our false faith is shown for what it is, or we come to realize that our beliefs are founded on truth and we follow God because He is worthy.

So as I saw this guy struggling with financial difficulties and questioning God’s care, I prayed. I prayed that God would continue to knock down the week supports this man had erected under his faith until he trusted in the God who is worthy and not in the god who aids in self-worship. Yet as I meditated on this, I realized that I too try to cling to my own scaffolding of belief. I have expectations of God as well. Though I may not expect Him to bail me out of my problems, I do expect Him to keep me from them. I expect Him to keep me secure in my job, to maintain or increase my income level, and to allow me to live in relative comfort. This is not what true faith is.

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