Tuesday, July 25, 2017


Faith is not polite; it is bold, courageously holding onto the promises of God. But neither is it demanding, and that is the danger we face we when decide to stop saying "please." Our own boldness may grate against our good manners, and we may start to believe we're telling God what to do. Or worse, we might start thinking we can tell God what to do.

Don't be fooled - there's not a beggar in the Gospels who demands anything from God. There's not a psalmist who prays a single word with a sense of entitlement. Even Job, who knows that he is undeserving of the troubles that have come his way, does not insist upon deserving something better. Not once in all the Scriptures does a faithful man turn to God and say, "You owe me."

Rather, what we see is men and women taking God at His word. What we see is them understanding who God is, who they are, and how this dynamic is supposed to play out in the lives of the faithful. What we see is not them demanding things for their own sake; they are simply crying out for God to be who He's said He is. And they are trusting in that.

It's the way that we call a doctor when we are sick. We know that the doctor is trained in the science of medicine, and we trust that he knows how to help us get better. It's not demanding to ask a doctor to speak when we are sick. It's exactly what we'd expect them to do. It's the way we call a lawyer when we're in legal trouble, the way we call a pastor when our hearts are aching. It's the way that when the pipes break, we call a plumber. We need not demand that the plumber fix things; we called him because we expect that he can and will. After all, that's why he became a plumber.

So it's not demanding of us to expect from God the things that He's promised to do. It's why He's God.

But we have to understand what else we are tempted to do that we don't see in the biblical witness. Specifically, we're prone to tell God when and how to act in accordance with His character and promise. The characters in our testaments don't do this. A few times, they have their suggestions, but they are perfectly content, really, to let God do God the way He wants to.

For example, the father comes to Jesus and says that his child is sick, and Jesus turns to go to the man's home. The man says, "Oh, no, no. That's not necessary. I know that You can just say the word." So Jesus speaks the word. Did the man demand that He do it this way? Not at all.

Jesus takes the blind man aside and rubs dirt and spit in his eyes. This wouldn't be my favorite way to be healed, but the man doesn't stop Him. The man doesn't say, "Oh, no, Jesus. When I asked You to heal me, I didn't mean like this." Did the man demand that He do it differently? Nope.

In fact, in all the Gospels, the only man who ever demands that Jesus do something differently that He intends to do it...is Peter. And when he talks back to the Lord, Jesus tells Him without mincing words, "Get behind me, Satan."

See, Satan is demanding. The faithful are simply trusting. They take God at His word and are confident that He is doing what He's promised to do.

Which leads to an interesting commentary in and of itself...(stay tuned).

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