1. In a general sense, there is only one obstacle to having an intimate relationship with God. That one obstacle is sin, which can be any form of disobedience to God. It has plagued the human race since Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden.
But what makes us go there?
2. In order to decide that it’s okay to disobey God, we have to have an exaggerated view of ourselves and of our importance (pride/egocentrism), and we have to undervalue God our Maker. We don’t necessarily realize that we are doing this, but in essence, we are.
3. Next, we begin to rationalize. “Oh, it isn’t that bad…” But if God says it is that bad, and we say it’s not that bad, then we find ourselves arguing with God. And we wonder why we’re so worn out? I mean, think of it! How do we ever imagine that we could win an argument with God? Once again, we usually aren’t even aware that this is what we are doing.
Remember Eve? She did this too:
“When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.” (Genesis 3:6 NASB)
Paraphrase: “Oh, it’s not that bad. I’m only looking at it. Boy, it really does look good. Surely something that looks so good can’t really be bad. Besides, surely God wouldn’t have a problem with me becoming wise. I’m sure He just wants me to be happy.”
She listened to the serpent when he suggested that God was actually holding out on her, that God did not, in fact, really have her best interests at heart. So, if God wasn’t going to look out for her, she needed to take things into her own hands and give herself that which she really deserved.
Have you ever heard anything like that in our world?
Have you ever had thoughts like these yourself?
4. And all this rationalizing and arguing with God leads to complaining. I hear it from my children sometimes as a parent. For example,
“Honey, will you please go clean your room now?”
When I hear “But Mom,” I hear an argument and complaining all rolled into one. And I’m pretty sure God does, too, when we say such things to Him.
“But God, surely you don’t really mean that you want me to tell that person about Jesus; they might laugh at me. Besides, I’m sure they are perfectly happy just the way they are, and they don’t want to hear it anyway….”
Arguing with God.
Complaining about what we know He is telling us to do.
5. And then we dig in our heels and refuse to budge. God calls this rebellion, and it grieves Him greatly.
And we wonder why we don’t feel close to Him like we used to?
I’ve told my child, “When I came to pick you up at school today, I had it in mind to take you out for ice cream. But all I’ve heard from you since you got in the car is arguing and complaining. I don’t feel like taking you out for ice cream anymore.”
I wonder how many times God has wanted to take me out for ice cream (or something much better), but I was grieving Him too much by my disobedience, pride, rationalizing, arguing, complaining, and rebellion?
I wonder what it would take to feel close to Him again? Maybe doing the opposite of what we’ve been doing?
- Obey Him
- Humble ourselves under His mighty hand
- Admit our sin and repent
- Agree with Him
- Start praising Him and recognizing His worth again.
I think it’s WAY worth a go at it, don’t you?