When God’s moral standards are different than mine

When God’s moral standards are different than mine . . whose do I think are right? . . who is more trustworthy in the area of morality? . . who do I expect to yield?

I know the answers to the last two questions in a heartbeat.  But there is still that sinful-reeking self in me that wants to trust my own judgment, this twisted superiority that thinks I know right from wrong better than anyone else–including God.

I don’t always pick up the Word of God and want to believe it’s the Word of God.  Sometimes I read something convicting, something puzzling, or something against what I believe.  I want to prove I’m right just the way I am.  I want to explain to God how He could have made Himself clearer.  I want to be the one who wins the “argument”–the argument we’re not really having, but I imagine we are, as if I am important enough to ever have an argument with God or that my fallen point of view could be entertained by Him in the least.

The rubber of my faith meets the road of testing and I have to decide: Do I unconditionally believe God or not?  Do I need to be able to reason it out in my mind, form a research committee, try out other ideas . . or can I totally lay myself at His feet and say, As You say.

I say, As You say, Lord.  As You say.

It’s mocked.  It’s called unintelligent, stupid, naive, fanatical–every name anyone can throw at a person who commits himself or herself totally to Christ, no fine print, no clauses, no addenda.

If I could have a bumper sticker about faith, I’d like to say,

Faith.  It makes people mad.

Nothing gets people so hostile as faith.  Lack of faith or loss of faith, in fact, does not get people so hostile as faith itself.  Faith is a most offensive belief in our faithless world.

I’ve heard people say that you can have faith in the wrong things, and, in a way, that’s right.  But, really, that isn’t faith.  Faith is–and I’m not going by a dictionary here, but by what I understand from God’s Word–the belief in the yet-to-be-revealed.

The reality of faith will be revealed.  It would be like if I said I had a hundred dollar bill in my fist.  If you believe me, and I’m a con artist, you’re thought to be a fool.  But if you believe me, and I’m telling the truth, you’re thought to be wise.  If I really have the hundred dollar bill in my fist, I think it’s showing faith to believe me.  But if I really don’t have the hundred dollar bill, I think it’s showing bad judgment to believe me.

If Christianity is wrong, there is no doubt that Christians are fools.  One of the writers of the New Testament said that if Christianity was wrong, and there is nothing after this world, we are like pound puppies who think someone is coming to save them but never does:

And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. (2 Thessalonians 2:8, NLT)

So how do I know if I’m Heaven bound or the world’s biggest fool?

How would you know if I really had a hundred dollar bill in my fist or not?

As a stranger, you wouldn’t have a clue.  But change the story now.  I have a friend I’ve known since I was six years old.  He’s like a little brother to me.  He’s grown up with me.  He knows what I went through when my dad died and I know what he’s been through with working long hours to pay his way through college.  When we talk, we don’t chitty-chat.  We go deep straight away.

If I went to him and said, “Jon, there is a hundred dollar bill in my fist.  I mean it with all my heart.  I need to know that you believe you can trust me.  Do you believe I really have the hundred dollar bill?”

He would.  I know he would.  I’m sure in the back of his mind he’d wonder if I was tricking him, but he would believe me.

Why?

Trust.  Trust that goes way deep.

Trust like that doesn’t come easy for most people.  We usually have it as kids, but we lose it as we grow up.  God wants us to go back to that kid trust.  But He doesn’t just expect us to trust Him and leave it at that.  He gives us proof.

And not just proof.  The best proof.

He gives us Jesus.

There is nothing, ever, that God could have done that would have shown His trustworthiness so much as when He gave Jesus to die on the cross for our burdens.  Our sin–taken care of.

You know, if a crook said she was going to spend the next 5 years in jail, and asked me if I would go in her place, I most likely wouldn’t.  But if a crook said she was going to spend the next 5 years in jail, and asked me if Jon could go there in her place, I certainly wouldn’t send him.  That’s out of the question.  But what if he volunteered to go?  Still no.  I wouldn’t let Jon trade 5 years of his life for a crook.  Jon is too valuable for that.

God’s morality is different than my morality, all right.  God chose to give up Jesus for us.

This is something we just can’t come close to understanding.

When God gave us Jesus, He was giving Himself to die, because Jesus is God, one of the three Persons.  But God was also giving His Son at the same time.  Jesus chose to come and God the Father chose to send Him.  And when I was talking about a crook, that might sound harsh, but that is a nice way of saying it.  We are wretches, traitors, haters, spitters.  There’s nothing in how we act that drew God to pity us.  Instead, it was the love deep inside Him that brought Him to that incredible choice.

I don’t understand everything in the Word of God.  And I used to be guilty of harping on the same questions over and over, nagging and nagging God to give me answers.  The truth is, I don’t deserve answers.  I don’t deserve to even talk to God–ever.

If Jon decided to spend 5 years in jail for a crook and the crook came up to me afterwards and asked all kinds of questions in an attempt to discredit what Jon had done and make Jon and I look bad, I would want to knock the crook flat.  I can’t imagine, then, how God must have felt when I used to whine (and still catch myself at), “Why this, God, why that?” . . not getting that I am trying, in a secretive, ignorant way, to discredit the only one who could save me, Jesus Christ, and His Father!

That I can talk to God, that I can kneel at His throne–unbelievable.  God’s mercy is so unfathomable I think sometimes we write it off as insignificant because we couldn’t imagine how to handle it if it were every bit as huge as it really is.

The truth is, I understand the things I don’t understand about the justice and wrath of God far better than I understand the things I don’t understand about the love and mercy of God.  I get why God would have justice and wrath for us way better than I get why He would have love and mercy for us.

So when I come to something I don’t understand or disagree with, I am learning to pray a prayer like,

Break my will

with a joyful heart that He will do it.

I’ve heard people say before that they are looking forward to getting to Heaven, when they can get answers from God to their questions.  I used to think I had some kind of right to demand this.

But when I die, I’m not going to be at Heaven’s gate, clacking the knocker, and yelling, “Ok, God!  It’s time for You to give me the answers now!” waving a list madly about.

I’m going to fall on my knees as angels pull me in (or something like that).  I’ll be in such shock I can’t stand, and on my knees I’ll fall flat on my face before God and not ask a single question, except,

“My Lord and my God, why did You want to let me in?  Why did You die for me so I could be here with You?”

The Lord is good to those who depend on him,

to those who search for him.

So it is good to wait quietly

for salvation from the Lord.

And it is good for people to submit at an early age

to the yoke of his discipline:

Let them sit alone in silence

beneath the Lord’s demands.

Let them lie face down in the dust,

for there may be hope at last. (Lamentations 3:25-29, NLT)

If you are such a godless fool as to honor yourself, or if you scheme, you had better put your hand over your mouth. (Proverbs 30:32, GW)

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