My post is shorter this week because of a busy schedule, and brain fog from overeating. Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving!
Yesterday, I found myself leisurely “commenting” that life is too difficult and messy. It sounded completely fine when I said it, but then I was reminded of when God spoke through Hosea and He said in 7:14, “They do not cry out to me from their hearts, but they wail upon their beds.” When God said this, through the prophet Hosea, what exactly did He mean? And anyway, why would God want them to cry?
As always, the Bible is our mail from God today, just as it was back in the Old Testament. The heart of man hasn’t changed one iota. What God said about us then is every bit as relevant today. So, does God really want us to become a bunch of crying, sniveling babies? (I mean…I can snivel without even thinking about it!) Sadly, when I’m honest enough with myself, I admit I do wail quite a bit to God (and others) in the form of complaining. We all whine at one time or another. It’s human, right? However, God says that if we’re really sorry about the depth of our sin, and realize how we’ve flouted His authority, then the whining will cease and crying out to Him will be our natural response. Instead of a hands-on-hips, kick-dog, victim mentality, our rebellion should seriously drive us to our knees, while making appeals for His mercy and grace.
Ask yourself this: How much of the time, when you’re talking to God, do you really spend petitioning Him and crying out for help because you recognize your tendency to try and manage life without Him? In prayer, we often spend a large slot of time asking God to solve problems and reconcile human relationships. That’s good. We also use that occasion to confess specific sins, to thank Him for things He’s done, and to express our desires. These are good things, also. God loves for us to talk to Him. However, how often do we really spend time crying out to Him from the heart, as we acknowledge our desperate need for His grace and mercy in response to our total depravity? We’re fallen people (even if we don’t like to admit it), because when push comes to shove, we all recognize at some point that our hearts are corrupt. If you don’t think this is you, then listen to your thoughts. Have you (inwardly) judged anyone, been angry, wanted revenge, thought you could out-maneuver God, wanted to manipulate others, or lied, etc.? These thoughts all come from a selfish place that says, “I live for myself. I serve my kingdom. It’s my way or the highway. You owe me.” When we think this way, we’re actually sitting on the throne of our own personal kingdom.
Just take a look at how we (inwardly) process life in general. We each have perfected a style of living that attempts to avoid pain and serve ourselves. Do you tend to be a perfectionist? I believe all people are perfectionists in some way. I’m more of a Type A person who likes order. I find great satisfaction in making sure I attempt to do things correctly. I’m a people pleaser. I live in the world of “Oh-no-what-if-they-don’t-like-me?” So, I try to control life to my good end by striving for a good reputation. Does this sound like someone who depends on God and easily admits they fall short? Absolutely not. I say with my mouth that I believe I’m totally incapable of doing life without Jesus, but my actions manytimes convey a self-sufficiency to get life done my way for my satisfaction. I do confess I occasionally treat Jesus like a 7-11 convenience store. I pop in for a cup of Jesus when things get shaky, but I don’t linger there for long, because I’m onto the next performance to serve my own end.
On the other hand, you may think you’re a more relaxed individual who doesn’t give a rip about what others think. You live life free of others’ opinions (you think). However, it becomes so important to you that you don’t live by others’ rules, that you’ve perfected the art of living to yourself and declaring your independence….sounds pretty rebellious to me. Does that sound as if you need Jesus out of weakness?
We all live in a self-sufficient manner in some way. Of course, we wail when we need God to fix something as though He’s some kind of cosmic mechanic, but we don’t often cry out of a heartfelt need for His mercy. At some level, we believe we aren’t all that bad, so we’ve bought the idea that we surely deserve God’s favor. In turn, we sadly wail when we want God to give us His ear, thinking that He owes us because He’s God.
As we are reminded of God’s goodness and provision this Thanksgiving week, it should humble us to realize that He has given us the greatest gift in Christ which we never deserved…. God’s wrath toward our rebellion was satisfied forever in that precious Gift of love. God deeply cares for us. However, as believers, He demands our devotion to Him as our Giver. We are challenged to Turn Around and cry out to Him daily, as we recognize our need for His continual mercy, and His kindness to give us grace. We need the forgiveness of the cross because of our self-focused, self-sufficient attempts to be enough for ourselves. Jesus died to accomplish a forgiven relationship between God and us. This realization should produce a grateful heart that bows in thanksgiving everyday. Instead of whining and wailing to God that life isn’t fair, and far from perfect, we should be mindful to repent and cry out in recognition of our need for His mercy and grace for all things. He demonstrated it through the Cross. He is good….all the time.