Working with the team that created “The Chorus In The Chaos” has been so exciting… and now, to see our little steadily-flowing creek of a blog flow into the might river called Patheos is even more exciting. We were ready for the fact that this may bring us new readers (and we welcome you, no matter where you come from). Therefore, I want to introduce myself (and my writing) by making a rather bold claim:
God doesn’t care what you think. God doesn’t care what you feel.
Right away, this may spark some anger… but hear me out. I know you’re asking “Are you crazy?? How can that be?”. You may feel the need to remind me that the God of the bible is “intimately acquainted with all of our ways” , Psalm 139:3 tells us (that’s an intimacy or closeness that is borderline sexual, for those who don’t know Greek). The God of the bible knows every hair on our head (Matthew 10:30) and counts us as much more valuable than the sparrows (Matthew 6:26, 10:31). This is the God who created you in His image (Genesis 1:26), and who loved you enough to send His own Son to redeem you from your sin and draw you unto Himself. If you have accepted that Son, by faith, as your only hope to gain forgiveness of your sins (and therefore eternal life and reconciliation to God), then you are among the ones to whom Christ flat-out says “I love you” (Isaiah 43:4) and that He has loved you from “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4-5). As a believer in the inerrancy and infallibility of God’s word, throughout all time, I have to take these truths of God’s care for us as legitimate.
So for me to make a bold statement as “God doesn’t care what you think or feel”, it bears some explanation. Let me explain that statement by quantifying it:
“When it comes to His own holiness or glory, God doesn’t care what you think or feel.”
God is a God who cares about his people; their hopes, their dreams, the desires of their heart… but that stops when it infringes upon (or supersedes) His holy Character, His preeminence over all things, or His glory… “the glory due His name” (Psalm 96:8). How many times in the Old Testament does God do things, not for the good of His people, but “for the sake [or the glory] of My name”? Tons of times (do a word search and you’ll see). Similarly, God’s law, in scripture, is not so much a “do’s and dont’s” list as it is a reflection of His holy Charcter (of which we fall well short, Romans 3:23 says). Take the 10 commandments, for example. God inhabits the mountains with smoke and earthquakes before ever giving Moses the law (Exodus 19). When He finally does, He premises the giving of that law by saying “I am the Lord thy God” and, under that premise, He logically makes rule #1 to be “Thou shalt have no other gods BEFORE me”… and NEWS FLASH: That list of “gods” includes what you think or feel.
“I think the he/she best understands what the people want”
“He/she makes me feel (insert adjective here)”
“I feel that he/she best represents what I want”
My reaction, politically, is “What happened to facts? Policy? Educated reasons for voting that weren’t based on ‘feelings’?”. My reaction, spiritually, is to see the dangerous trend among Christians today to take that same attitude toward their candidate and apply it to God.
To people who do that, my questions is this: What do you do when what YOU think or feel parts ways with what God says in His word? If you think about it, the sins of sexual immorality, abuse, marital selfishness, gender-identity altering, idolatry, deception, greed, discontentment, ingratitude, and false teaching… or pretty much any other sin you can think of…. all stem from putting the god of “I think” or “I feel” above God Himself… and His warning to us when we, sinfully, get this wrong is dire:
“But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this? Has the potter no right over the clay?” (Romans 9:20-21)
“Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker” (Isaiah 45:9)
The consumeristic idea that God is here to cater to what we think or feel is cancerous to the Church today. When does the scripture say the Lord “will give you the desires of your heart”? He will do so when you first “delight yourself IN THE LORD” (Psalm 37:4), and therefore not delight yourselves in what WE think or feel. That’s why Saint Augustine was free to, curiously, write the command to “Love God and do as you please”. If you love God, then you will want (think, feel) what HE does. And when THAT is the case, “do as you please”.
It’s better that way… really. Remember, His ways “are higher than your ways” and His thoughts “are higher than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). The comfort we take in knowing that what we think or feel is irrelevant to God’s overall plan lies in the fact that His plan is so much better than anything we could ever imagine for ourselves. Remember, our hearts are deceitful to us and wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). They can betray us in ways that will ultimately do us in, for it is what comes out of our heart (what we think or feel), Jesus says, that defile us (Matthew 15:18). God, on the other hand, has a plan for each one of you; “a plan to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). It is a plan that God knows, this verse tells also us. This plan is a race “marked out” specifically for you (Hebrews 12:1), but you have to both accept it and run it. To do so comes, thankfully, at the cost of giving up what you “think” or “feel”. That doesn’t make it a “blind faith”. Quite the opposite. It makes it a faith where you can truly see; a faith where you give up everything in order to, in exchange, “gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8).
The glorious truth is that when we drop what we “think” or “feel”, Christ our Savior then picks it up. He gave more regard to you… more thought to your wants, needs, desires, dreams, and feelings… before you were ever born than you could ever give to yourself… and with that knowledge, He has designed a life where He can use you to expand His Kingdom and ultimately give Himself glory through you (Isaiah 43:7).
So now that I’ve made (and quantified) this bold statement, let me ask you…. Aren’t you glad that God cares more about you than simply what you “think” or “feel”? When we give up what we think, we can truly sing of something better: “THOU my best thought, by day or by night. Waking or sleeping, THY presence my light”.