God’s Way or My Way
In our lives, in our churches, the biggest enemy of structural soundness is indecision.
Whether we have heard a distinct calling from God or we are waiting for Him to speak, our human nature wants to know what is going on. Somewhere deep inside we know that God is perfect and understand that He is not absent from the process. Nearer to the surface, our sinful nature is not satisfied with just understanding the character of God, we want to know the plan, know the timetable and know the location.
If we don’t like what we hear or don’t hear from God on our timetable, we begin down the road of indecision trying to choose, God’s way or my way. In the silence when God makes us wait or in the overwhelming noise of questioning what we hear, it is hard to know what to do…
Abraham and Sarah got caught in this trap.
There was no question God spoke to Abraham and Abraham believed Him (Genesis 15). God promised him an heir that would be his son even though he and his wife had not been able to have children. In Chapter 16 the indecision starts. Sarah gets anxious and worried because she hadn’t become pregnant. She figured that it was time to make God’s plan start working. At Sarah’s request, Abraham slept with Sarah’s servant and she gave birth to a son. There he was, an heir, a son for Abraham. On the surface it looked like they fulfilled God’s plan.
If you are new to Old Testament customs you may be saying to yourself; how can he sleep with anyone but his wife and think it was okay? Just so you don’t think that Abraham and Sarah were off their rockers to try this, it was not out of the ordinary for a man to have more than one woman bear him children. It may be any combination of wives and maidservants. If his brother had died before having children, he would have children with the brother’s widow to ensure an heir for his brother. This arrangement would have seemed fine to them.
Here is the problem.
In Abraham’s and Sarah’s situation and in all situations, God is not just the God of getting things started. He isn’t the company president who casts a vision so that the employees can come up with ways to make it happen. God has the vision and the plan. He has the timetable and the workers picked out. Abraham was humble enough to interact with God and believe His promise. He told his wife so he must have been pretty sure that God was going to come through. Then as time passed and God seemed a little slow on coming through, indecision set in.
There is nothing wrong with being unsure.
There is nothing wrong with asking God if you heard Him correctly or if you missed something. These types of inquiries reveal two things about the person or group of people that make them.
First, an understanding of our weak and sinful nature is shown when we admit that somehow we may have messed up God’s instructions. People who can admit this not only understand the idea of humble prayer [remember 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “humble themselves and pray”] but live it in all situations knowing that sin is their flaw. They go to the only one who does not suffer from this flaw, God. The second thing revealed is the desire to do it God’s way, not my way. Abraham and Sarah did not go to God and ask if they got it wrong or missed a step, they came up with a way to make it work. They did it their way rather than waiting to complete God’s plan.
2 Chronicles 7:14 continues “… and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways.”
What are wicked ways? Ask most people, followers of Christ or not, and you would get a list of death row and life in prison offences. Wicked must be murder, rape, assault, molestation and so on. If you have not committed one of these horrible sins then general consensus is you are not wicked. I beg to differ.
As a Christ follower, anytime we put our way in front of God’s way, we are wicked. If it wasn’t for the grace of God, our wicked actions would define our eternal home. Our desire to do things our way does not disappear just because we are a Christ follower. When God’s way isn’t easy to follow, often because He asks us to trust Him and leaves it at that, we find ourselves trying to decide what to do, how to proceed.
This is the time we should seek God’s face, His ways that are all perfect and holy, but more often than not, we don’t. Instead our way starts to look like it’s God’s way. In our desperation to please God or just get moving, we look for answers in our knowledge banks instead of understanding that God has the answer. Our desire to do things our way takes over…
As a collective of Christ followers or as individuals, often we fail to recognize our indecisiveness.
We have situations that we set aside for God and situations that we combine some leading from God with our own way of doing things. Sometime during our journey as Christ followers or during the formation of the leadership team in our church, we came up with areas for us to address and areas that required God’s intervention, help or direction and then decided how much of God’s input was needed…
God’s plans or my plans, done God’s way or my way?
From time to time my blog will include abridged excerpts from my book “Blueprint.” Like any author/blogger, I find it difficult to leave the words I have written in my computer until a publisher can be found. Maybe it’s because someone somewhere needs to read these words now.