Moving God the Wrong Way
It’s not hard to realize what an unpredictable and chaotic world we live in. We experience change and uncertainty every day ranging from the mundane flat tire, spilled coffee, and lost car keys to more severe situations such as horrific natural disasters, random terrorist attacks, and nerve racking political and financial instability.
As Christians, we are blessed to know that as the World is falling around us, we can take comfort in the extended promise God made in Malachi 3:6, where He declares that He does not change and because of that fact, we will not be destroyed.
But despite being the source of our eternal stability, we still want to change God.
We want to Manipulate Him, with our Offerings.
We want to Control Him, with our Prayers.
We want to Influence Him, with our Actions.
God understands and recognizes this drive in us. In fact, the first three items listed in the Ten Commandments aim to help us realize this about ourselves.
You might not specifically worship Baal, Moloch or any of the other false gods listed in the Bible but we constantly place our own ambitions and aspirations ahead of God’s plans for us, selfishly thinking that God should work to achieve the trophies we covet rather than us working to bring Him Glory by fulfilling His plans.
Forbidding graven images doesn’t stop with statues carved out of wood and stone, but extends to our limiting God’s dimensions to what we believe to be physically possible. This is sometimes seen with people thinking their problems are too big for God. In their mind, they’re too sick to be healed, their marriage is too damaged to be repaired, their debt too staggering to be repaid. Limiting God’s power is sometimes excused with thoughts that God isn’t interested in our problems, there are more important issues for Him to focus on, and that we aren’t good enough for God to want to help us. This ignores the sacrifice Christ made through His Death and Resurrection and treats it as though that isn’t enough.
Thinking of God as existing exclusively in the box we put Him isn’t limited to sometimes believing heavenly intervention isn’t possible or won’t come, but also through restricting the supernatural to our natural needs. Only crying out to Him on behalf of some favor or service we need from Him is using God’s name as a manipulation of His Holiness for our own vanity. It’s easy to become “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.” 2 Timothy 3:4,5
Too often we fail to use prayer to intimately communicate with God to build our relationship with Him, but instead to conjure His infinite powers for ourselves. It is subtle in this manner, but the blatant spell Abra (Father) Kadabra (Of the Father: Son) Alakazam (Holy Ghost) done before spectacular magic tricks exactly mirrors how many Christians call out God’s Name in prayer before asking him to perform some miracle at their behest.
But it isn’t simply through prayer that we try to control God. We also tend to believe that through “good works” we can coax God into doing what we want Him to do. Some people give their tithe to Him only under the condition that they be repaid back the loan we give to Him with usury level interest added of course. Others fast from necessities like food and water to convince God to give them things they desire. Popular pilgrimages too, encourage us to walk long distances so that God will take steps in the right direction.
It is easy to dismiss this sin as one that sprung up after the Fall of Man, but it is precisely this desire that caused the Fall of Man. Adam and Eve did not eat of the forbidden fruit due to having no other source of food. The Snake’s sales pitch was focused on the lie that eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil would make Adam and Eve ever powerful like God.
Even in a perfect Paradise where all our needs were met, we had no pain or worries, and we were living in communion with God and His Creation, it still wasn’t enough for Us. We still want to be like God, to have His Power, to essentially replace Him. Sometimes He does give us the desires of our Hearts simply for us to realize that it doesn’t truly make us happy and that we feel fulfilled living the life and destiny He planned for us before our birth.
So how do we move past this desire to control God?
By giving Him total power over our lives and putting Him first in all aspects of it.
Your business and career needs to be focused on achieving God’s Will; the money and success will flow like a raging river but they will mean nothing to you compared to the satisfaction you gain from offering your Work Life as a sacrifice to God. In your marriage, you must love God above each other and then yourselves. The Joy that stems from a God focused partnership will turn the tide of divorce in our nation and help heal the emotionally shattered relationships that we are surrounded by in the lives of our families, coworkers, and friends.
Giving total control over to God can be terrifying for most people since it makes us feel terribly vulnerable and we worry about whether God will take care of us in the way we need. This is especially true when we feel most powerless and should rely on Him to not only thrive in the tough moments in life but sometimes simply to survive them. But the God that knows the number of hairs on your head, is the very same God who knows your deepest fears and desires to sooth your wounds, connect with you deeply, and let you understand and feel his infinite Love.
The strengthening of your relationship with God only comes with spending time and communicating with Him in prayer. Then, when you hear God, you will understand His Plans and Promises and you will begin to truly trust Him. This trust is manifested in our obeying His Word and surrendering ourselves fully to Him. It is a great irony that only through submission to God and His Will rather than trying to control Him with our dead works, will we be able to fully experience and be blessed by His Power. It’s all about Praying, Hearing and Obeying.
Written by Eric Sepulveda, PMT Administrator