Have you ever wondered if it's possible to have too much faith in God? It's a strange question, but one that our hearts resonate with. Especially when we realize that we haven't received everything we've asked for in prayer, when our lives are still broken, when our hearts still ache. We wonder if perhaps we haven't believed too much, if the world is right...if we're just foolish to believe in God at all.
The trouble isn't really having "too much" faith or trusting Him too much or believing in Him too much. The trouble is having the wrong heart of faith, and it's not a new problem. It goes all the way back, at the very least, to Lamentations 4. Here, the author cautions that if you become too cocky about God, you will become drunk on His cup.
Let's break that down a little bit because this is important. Note that the problem is not trusting God too much or being too sure of what He's capable of; the problem is being arrogant about what you expect from Him. It's a subtle difference, but a vital one. When you're arrogant about what you expect from God, what you're really saying is that God works for you.
That's a far cry from the humble confession that He loves you.
What you're saying in arrogance is that you know God so well that you know everything that He's going to do, and you're sure He's going to act in accordance with your will. You're certain He's going to act just the way that you want Him to, just the way that you expect Him to. And when you say this, what you're really saying is: I am God. I see everything that He can see, I know everything that He can know, I feel everything that He can feel. Therefore, He is completely predictable to me because He and I are the same.
It's not true, of course. God can always see more than you can see. He always knows more than you can know. He always feels more than you can feel. You are limited in your flesh; He is not. There is always something more to God than even the fullest thing that we know about Him. Something our flesh just cannot fathom.
And it's why so many end up "drunk" on God. You've probably met some of them throughout your life. They're the ones who don't seem to care about anything, who live their lives hands-off because they believe so strongly in what God is going to do...even though from the outside looking in, it's clear that He's never actually done any of those things for them. They're the ones that go on believing without any evidence at all, without any promise at all, because they are so sure they know so fully exactly who God is that it doesn't ever occur to them that He is greater even than this.
So they stumble. They fumble around in the dark, unable to keep their eyes open. Unable to focus their vision on the things they cannot see. They slur their words, always trying to defend what they call faith, but which is really arrogance; they're cocky, so sure of the fullness of God when really, they are only full of themselves. And if ever they start to come out of it, even a little, they feel the sickness deep in their souls, and it's unbearable. So they take another drink and double down.
Alcoholics, for sure.
Now, listen, I'm not saying that confident assurance is a bad thing; it's not. We absolutely ought to be certain about what we believe about our Lord. He has revealed Himself to us, and there are things that we can know about Him. That we should know about Him. It's a faith we ought to be building our lives on.
But this unexamined faith, this blind faith that clings to a caricature of Him, this arrogant faith that declares that God works for us rather than merely that He loves us, this cockiness that depends upon His power but never rests in His love...it's dangerous. It gives us a god made in our image, and it's intoxicating, but it's not real. It's not life-giving. It's not love-giving. It's not Him.
Every single person who has ever come in contact with God, every story that we have in Scripture, every testimony from the history of the world...their encounter has resulted in a humbling of the heart. They become more realistic about who they are when they discover for real who God is. Not one person has ever truly met God and become cocky about it, even when they have become confidently assured.
So we must beware of becoming a people who proclaim Him too boldly and we must beware of others who do the same, for it might be that it's not Him, but us. It might be not that He is moving the way we expect Him to, but that we have become arrogant about what we think that we know. It might be that we have taken away all expectation of mystery and convinced ourselves that we have nailed Him down, that He works for us exactly in the ways that we expect and declare Him to. It might be that we have lost sight of His love.
It might be...that we're just drunk. Drunk on His cup, but drunk nonetheless, stumbling about and slurring our words, about to wake up in the gutter covered in our own grime.
Lamentations warns us about this, and while we can't let it keep us from believing and from being confidently assured, we must let it remind us that true faith is never arrogant.
It's always humble. Always.