Christians, Pay Attention
It appears to me that many in the Christian Church have corrupted their understanding of their position in Christ or with Christ. More and more people imagine that Christ exists for our sake; that He came to earth to bless us and give us a wonderful life; that the riches and authority of the world belong to us — or should belong to us. Many folk have been taught that we can even tell God what we want and out of His love for us He will grant our desire.
When I worked for an automobile dealership in Tulsa in 1980, a well-known pastor came to me and told me he wanted a Cadillac. He specified all the details, how much he would pay for it, and wanted me to order it so I could “get in on the blessing.” When I said I could get it for him but that it would cost him approximately $8,000 more, he laughed and said, “I told Jesus what I want, and because of my faith, I’ll get it.” Walking away, he said he would offer the blessing to someone else.
About three weeks later he drove back to see me — in a new Cadillac. As he was bragging about it, I pointed out several major details that conflicted with the itemized list he handed to God. He said, “Well, I got most of it.” But when I asked him how much he paid for it, he muttered something like, “it was several thousand more than I wanted to pay” and quickly drove away.
This man had probably been listening to a song from a well-known writer that included the words: “Say it, believe it, receive it, tell Jesus.” But that theology is totally backwards and is an affront to God. That is deciding what we want, convincing ourselves it is right to have, claiming it as ours, then — THEN — telling Jesus about it. This is wrong.
The truth is: Christ does not exist for us; we exist for the sake of Christ. We have no business itemizing our demands, then handing them to God as though He was waiting on our table at the local restaurant.
Yes, Jesus came to earth as a baby, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, was crucified, died, and buried. He arose back to life on the third day and spent the next 40 days walking among men ministering to them, proving He was alive — and proving His divinity. He came to earth in order to remove the breach between man and God that was placed there when Adam sinned. But, although Jesus taught us to be servants to each other, Almighty God is not our servant.
In the late 1890s, the the theologian/politician/scholar Abraham Kuyper (Abraham Kuijper) said, “We Christians regularly fail to acknowledge our true place in creation. We aren’t just God’s creation; we are God’s possession.” I agree. We need to understand that the book of Job clarifies that no one tells God what to do.
Yes, we need to remember James 4:2-3 which says, “And yet the reason you don’t have what you want is that you don’t ask God for it. And even when you do ask, you don’t get it because your whole motive is wrong — you want only what will give you pleasure. (GNT)” What it does not say is that sometimes we “ask God” for something, but then we bypass God and appropriate it with human efforts. That is not trusting God. Rather, that is works of the flesh, and Scripture has a strong admonition against that.
Reflecting on Kuyper’s thought, what IS our place in creation?
I think it is summed up quite succinctly in Jesus’ words in John 4:34, “My meat (sustenance) is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.”
God didn’t ordain that we become crucified; but individually, our job is to discover what God wants of us, and do it. God’s will includes a vocation of some kind/ but specifically, it is to honor Him in everything we do in life.
Our place in creation is not to tell God what we want. Rather, it is to discover what God wants of us, and obey.