Why Jesus Won’t Think For Us
I love to get up early. I love the quiet hum of our home and the chance to read my Bible and pray before the day gets started. Over the years I’ve learned that this is part of an important discipline in learning how to hear God’s voice when He speaks to me.
Sometimes I wake up and I’m talking to God before I ever get out of the bed. Sometimes, I wake up so incredibly thankful for the goodness God has shown in my life that I want Him to know as soon as possible that I haven’t forgotten what He’s done for me.
Other days, I wake up talking to Him because I’ve been awake part of the night wrestling with Him over something and it almost feels like we’re squared off about it. I’ve been asking Him questions, going over scripture in my head, wondering about this or that and I’m puzzling about why He’s being so deafeningly quiet. This morning was one of those mornings.
The good news is that God saw it coming before I ever opened my eyes.
Standing at the kitchen counter, staring at the Keurig, dark chocolate K-cup and a can of whipped cream in hand, I was lamenting to God about something that’s been troubling me about the body of Christ. I mean really bothering me because I’m just not convinced that it pleases Him, but everywhere I look, I see it.
The subject isn’t important for this post. The point is that I’m wrestling with God about my response to the issue and how to be wise and honor others, but it seems like He’s not answering me and I’m starting to feel worn out. Why won’t He just tell me what to do or what to think?! Then distinctly I hear Him “say” to me, “I don’t speak to you like that anymore.”
And it was so plain, I knew in an instant what He was getting at.
When I was growing up, I remember my mom and dad teaching me different things. They’d explain things as often as needed until I understood it. When I became a teenager, their approach changed. It was more direct, often cautioning and certainly corrective.
As an adult, they began to speak to me as a friend — someone who they didn’t expect to make perfect decisions. They recognized that I had to figure life out on my own or my maturity would be stunted and I’d be dependent on them longer than is healthy. My parents were really good about this. They learned when to let me figure it out by myself, no matter the consequences because that was the only way I was going to learn.
They knew me well.
So this is where I find myself with the Lord this morning. I have a sense that He loves me and He’s for me, but He’s waiting on me to recognize that He’s not going to take me by the hand and spoon feed me on this issue I’m wrestling with. He wants me to search it out for myself. In essence, to grow up in Him and be His friend.
There’s a fascinating passage of scripture in the Bible where God has come down from heaven to meet and walk with His friend, Abraham. Long story short, at one point He ponders if He should tell Abraham what He’s about to do in a certain city that refuses to respond to His voice. He’s chosen Abraham to carry out a critical part in human history and He’s weighing what He should tell him. God knows that it’s not going to go well for these people and He wants to give Abraham a chance to have input.
If you know the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, you know that Abraham steps up and petitions God on their behalf, in part because his nephew Lot lives there along with his family. I suspect that it was also in part because Abraham, as a friend of God, and of the genealogy of Jesus, and the father of the Christian faith, had a heart for people, even those who just don’t want any part of God. I personally believe that this city’s rejection of God grieved Abraham very much.
I also believe God liked this about Abraham (that Abraham cared for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah). He liked it a lot. So much so that He let Abraham reason with Him about relenting on His pending judgment (Genesis 18). This is just amazing to me how God lets Abraham negotiate with Him.
The point is this: In a New Testament context, if we belong to God through the redemptive work of salvation, God is our Friend. After walking with us for awhile, He wants us to grow up in Him. He wants us to reason things out with Him. He wants us to know Him, His Word, and His heart enough that we come boldly to the throne of grace for help in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
One of the biggest mistakes I see Christians make is that they think Jesus came to think for them. He didn’t. He came to teach us how to think like Him.
Let’s be honest. Many of us blame everyone else for the state of our lives. It’s our spouse’s fault. It’s our friend’s fault. It’s our family’s fault. It’s our pastor’s fault. Well, wait a minute. It’s God’s fault. After all, He’s God, right? He should have kept me from it ….
We want God to do it all for us so we’re not responsible for our part. We want Him to show us a sign, change the person, change the situation, change my life … when God is showing us in His Word that He’s already given us everything that pertains to life and Godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Our job is to walk in it. Yet many times we end up doing the worst possible thing: We pick out the parts of His Word that we like and toss the rest, then blame God and others because things didn’t go as planned — or worse still, we keep trying to fix it through human means.
And that’s never a good idea.
Like Abraham, God has invited us to be a part of human history, however great or small our portion. He’s our amazing God and Father in heaven, and incredibly, He’s also our Friend. There’s no other explanation for the Cross of Christ (John 15:13).
Whatever you’re wrestling with today, know that God wants you to grow through your situation. He wants you to reason with Him until you get it. He’s not frustrated with you for it. He knows the end result will be that you’ll grow up in Him, even if it takes you awhile or gets really messy.
Read His Word. Pray to Him. You don’t have to pray big, long, eloquent prayers. Just talk to Him like how you would a dear friend and confidante. Just like how He did with Abraham, He’s come down to walk with you awhile. He’s waiting for you, today, like how good friends wait on each other. I promise you that He loves you and that He has a really good answer for you that He’s inviting you to discover.
Awaken and Equip
Faith Center exists to awaken people to a life-giving relationship with Jesus Christ and membership in the church family and equip them to fulfill their God-given purpose of maturity in Christ, ministry in the church body and missional living in the world.