5 Ways You Take God’s Job (and fail at it)

5 Ways You Take God's Job and fail at it Creating the universe, facilitating each atom, tracking every sparrow, counting the stars, and superintending every event to achieve His greatest glory and the benefit of His followers . . . if God weren’t God, He’d have his hands full.

Yet, even though we know He’s omnipotent and omniscient (all-knowing and all-powerful), we still feel the need to “lend God a hand.” It’s like we think we’re His administrative assistant or something.

Guess what. He doesn’t need our help to do His job. In fact, there are many cases where He flat-out commands that we stay away from that which only He can do.

So, what divine tasks have you tried to usurp recently?

You Save Someone

We all know you can’t redeem anyone’s soul from Hell. You need Christ’s shed blood as much as the next guy. However, we often pretend we can see the heart of man and then use that “divine insight” to make pronouncements concerning another’s eternal destiny. And what’s worse, many people do this with their children.

I spoke with a teenager who informed me that he’d recently been born again. He also told me that when he shared this news with his father, Daddy-o reminded his son that he’d been saved since he was five and insisted his son had merely received “assurance of salvation.”

Eight months later that young man had completely rejected God and is now a hard-core atheist.

Way to go, Dad. Instead of being aware of his son’s doubt, confusion, and searching, Father-dear assuaged his own concerns by futilely trying to write his son’s name in the Book of Life. While trying to convince his son that he was saved, Dad missed the chance to share Christ with him.

You can’t save someone, and you can’t know for certain a person’s saved. You can tell a tree by its fruit, but we seem to regularly mess that up too. When dealing with someone about their eternal destiny, let God’s Word be their source of joy and comfort. If they don’t have assurance from the Bible, you shouldn’t say anything to convince them.

That’s God’s job.

You Get Revenge

Most Bible readers are familiar with the anti-revenge injunction; but does that really stop them?

“’Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”

We love to punch-in with our holy time card and start delivering pallets of vengeance. We use passive/aggressive quips, manipulation, caustic remarks, gossip, and all-out backstabbing techniques simply because we want our antagonist to feel the same pain we did when they hurt us.

This is sin.

God saves this chore for Himself because He is the only one who can exact righteous vengeance. We avenge because we feel we must protect our own pride; God avenges because His holiness is actually worth it.

You Condemn Others

“He will never change!”

Oh, really? According to the Bible, change is God’s biggest accomplishment! Behind every moment and minutia of the day God’s sovereign hand is working to change us.

Yet our divine condemnations are actually motivated by pessimistic hatred.

Yes. Hatred.

Love hopes all things and believes all things (I Corinthians 13:7). True love rests in God’s ability to do the miraculous and optimistically looks forward to our loved one’s maturity. When we assume someone will never change, we’re being hateful.

We also heist this God-job when we judge people for doing things the Bible doesn’t directly address. It’s true that we are commanded to make judgements (John 7:24). We’re to use God’s Word and His wisdom to discern between good and evil. However, when we judicially decree that someone is sinning in an area the Bible doesn’t specifically name . . . we must be very careful. Condemning a soul is God’s job.

You Assume Motives

I Samuel is very clear that man’s understanding of another man is very limited. We see the skin. However, God has the ability to know the thoughts and intents of a person’s soul.

God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7

Yet that rarely stops us from assuming we know why people do what they do.

I’ve seen it before.”

I know why she said that.”

He always does the same thing because he’ll never change.”

God has equipped us with the wisdom and discernment necessary to shine His Truth on a situation. When we use the Bible, we can often have a very clear picture of the motivations God reveals. But because our personal insight can only penetrate the freckle-level, we must remember four key things about interpreting another’s motives: you can read more about that here.

You Receive Worship

Of all the things God’s responsible for, this one is the most dastardly to usurp.However, we’re so stuck on ourselves, we’re quick to impersonate God when worship is being passed out.

This is the proverbial “dancing where angels fear to tread” for even angels are smart enough not to take this job.

How many times today have you impersonated God by receiving worship?

Ken Collier said, there are “just two choices on the shelf, pleasing God and pleasing self. When we reject God’s will and do what’s right in our own eyes, we’re placing ourselves higher than God. We’re worshipping ourselves. Everything from reading blogs to parenting to eating to taking out the trash must be done as an act of worship to God. The moment we don’t actively desire God’s glory we’re seeking our own. Interestingly enough, it’s when we snatch this task from God that we seek to take the other four jobs to ourselves as well.

Conclusion

If you’ve been perceptive then you’ve realized two things: 1. You’ve taken God’s job far more often than you thought. And 2. The one constant that runs through all of these impersonations is blatant arrogance and pride.

We’ve come to the place where we think we can do God’s job better than He can. It’s so easy to give someone confidence in their eternal state, exact revenge, condemn others, read people’s minds, and bask in the glory of worship!

Unfortunately, we not only epically fail with each attempt, we make everyone else’s God-given jobs that much more difficult. Because now we’re the ones that need to be rebuked, corrected, and admonished.

You’ve been tasked with enormously vital responsibilities. God wants you to be His ambassador. He’s gifted you to fulfill every “one another” in Scripture. He’s given you His Word to use in disciplining, counseling, parenting, leading, mentoring, and fellowshipping. He’s called you to bear the Fruit of the Spirit and put on the whole Armor of God. He’s entrusted you with the life-changing gospel of Christ!

There are plenty of things to keep us busy.

Stop taking God’s job!

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Peace In: Part VIII – Assume the Position

 

 

Sunday Sermon Series

Wow!

We made it through our first Sunday Sermon Series. We’ve experienced a little over 8 weeks of expositional study in Philippians 4:4-9, and I pray it’s been as significant for you as it has for me.

Today we will do a quick review of Philippians 4 and then look at one other verse in order to put a beautiful capstone on our study of biblical peace.

If this is the first you’ve heard of this study, please feel free to jump in “Peace In: Part I – What is Peace?”

Continue reading “Peace In: Part VIII – Assume the Position”

Peace In: Part VI – What Are You Thinking?

Sunday Sermon Series

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the second-to-the-last part of our study on biblical peace. Next Sunday we’ll complete our first Sunday Sermon Series! Thank you to all of you who have continued with us to this point. If you’d like to start at the beginning, please click here – “Peace In: Part I.”

Where We Have Been

Over the past five weeks we’ve seen that . . .

  1. Peace is a conditional promise of divine soul rest powerful enough to overcome out feeling of doubt, depression, anxiety, and anger.
  2. The first Peace Prerequisite is that we must fulfill our responsibility to God by finding our sole joy in Him.
  3. The second prerequisite is that we must fulfill our responsibility to others by showing our gentleness in all things because not only is God in us, He is returning soon to collect us unto Himself.
  4. The third requirement is that we must fulfill our responsibility to this life by not being anxious, but instead taking all of our cares and anxieties to God in humble and thankful trust that He will work in and through them as He’s promised.
  5. When we are faithful to obey God, He provides a divine peace that stations a spiritual guard over our thoughts and desires – under the ultimate authority of none other than Jesus Christ.

Where We Are Now

In pure Pauline fashion, it’s as if Paul realizes there’s one more important thing he must say to the Philippians on the subject of peace. So he lays out a fourth Peace Prerequisite followed by a second Peace Promise.

Continue reading “Peace In: Part VI – What Are You Thinking?”

Peace In: Part V – Peace Promise #1

 

Sunday Sermon Series

Welcome back. As always, I’d like to welcome anyone just joining us to take few minutes to catch up with out study. You can start here: “Peace In: part I.” If you missed any other parts, you may click here.

The passage we’re dipping into today is so extremely exciting because it’s the first of two Peace Promises we’ll see before we’re done.

The Peace Prerequisites

Remember, peace is not a natural consequence of being a Christian. If that were so, no Christian would ever be afraid or depressed. But peace is a conditional promise offered to every Christian. All we have to do is do our part. Of course, we can never accomplish anything Christ-honoring with His power, so in the end, God is asking us to do things we can only do through Him to have peace only He can provide. It really is a win-win-win for us.

1. Find your complete and utter joy in nothing and no one else other than God and His Truth. Don’t let a job, spouse, team, grade, children, hobby, song, food, or house be your goal. Make God and His glory your preeminent mission in life. This means His Word and the work He has for us must be more important than our fleeting fancies.

2. Be gentle, gracious, and loving to all men. Men may call you their enemy because they side with sin, but no man should you ever consider unlovable. Peace with the antagonistic, unity with the brethren, and truth in love to all men should be our aim. Know that God provides power to accomplish this by His indwelling Spirit, and that He may return at any moment and wants to find us serving Him.

3. Never be anxious for anything. Instead of dwelling on the problem and fretting over the outcome, allow your thoughts to turn to God, His promises, and His throne. Bow before Him in humble submission, casting your care on Him with a thankful heart that He is using these circumstances to work in you and bring Him glory.

When you accomplish all of this with Christ’s power for Christ’s glory the result is and will always be . . .

Continue reading “Peace In: Part V – Peace Promise #1”

Peace In: Part IV – What Scares You?

Sunday Sermon Series

Welcome back to our study of what biblical peace is and how to have it.

If you stumbled on this page without starting this study at the beginning, I’d encourage you to click this link – “Peace In: Part I

Peace In: Part IV

Have you ever been anxious?

Have you ever worried about a test, or an interview, or the future of a child?

Have you ever found it hard to concentrate at work because a weight in your chest you couldn’t ignore?

Today we have the ecstatic joy of learning how to cure anxiety! Today’s passage will examine our final Peace Prerequisite in order to achieve our first Peace Promise. There’re not enough reams of digital paper to record the lives that have been resurrected, the anxiety that has been destroyed, and the phobias that have been put to flight by the passage we’re going to study today!
Continue reading “Peace In: Part IV – What Scares You?”

Peace In: Part II – What’s Makes You Happy?

Sunday Sermon Series

Welcome!

We introduced our first Sunday Sermon Series here: Peace In: Introduction

We started our study of biblical peace here: Peace In: Part I

And we’re continuing that study right here!

Peace In: Part II

Last week we looked at many misconceptions concerning peace – peace is not a feeling or a divine stamp of approval – and we ended our time together learning that biblical peace is a state of mind. It’s a “soul rest” that pervades our every situation. It protects us from fear, doubt, anger, and depression.

So the next logical question is . . . how does one achieve peace?

We’ll spend the bulk of our time in this series in the book of Philippians, so let’s start with an overview of Philippians 4:4-9.

Verses 4-6 are a list followed by a promise of peace in verse 7.

Then verse 8 gives us another long list followed by a verse 9 repeat of the promise from verse 7.

The promise? Peace.

The list?
Continue reading “Peace In: Part II – What’s Makes You Happy?”

Peace In: Part I – What is Peace?

Sunday Sermon Series

If you missed the introduction to this series, please click on the following link to join us in our study on peace. We wouldn’t want anyone to feel left behind: Peace In: Introduction

Peace In: Part I

As we delve back into our study in Philippians 4:4-9, we need to determine what “peace” actually is. Since we’re commanded to have peace . . .

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-25

. . . it would behoove us to know what we have to do or be. How many Christians commit the sin of lasciviousness because they never bothered to figure out what it was? Let’s not make that same mistake here.

One way to discern what peace is is to figure out what it’s not.
Continue reading “Peace In: Part I – What is Peace?”

Is Your Faith a Fairy Tale?

Is Your Faith a Fairy Tale

On the road to Damascus he met the resurrected Savior of the world.

His life changed for eternity.

But he had a thorn.

Don’t abandon me yet – this post has nothing to do with Paul’s thorn. But it has everything to do with the reality your faith. Continue reading “Is Your Faith a Fairy Tale?”

Demons Among Us?

Demons Among Us

A naked man in Miami was shot and killed when he refused to stop eating the face of his victim. Sources say he continued his gnawing even after being shot the first time.

We acknowledge that our society is filled with the abnormal, the aberrant, and the anomalous, but the only answers society can point to are the elusive “mental illnesses” or chemical imbalances. Of course the “professionals” have a hard enough time defining the mind let alone an illness of it, and they have no tests to prove the chemical balancing act. But since the Bible provides all we need for life and godliness, let us turn to the Scriptures for an explanation of deviant behavior. We will find there prevalent answers on the subject. Some of which are direct explanations and others are vivid illustrations.

The answer to the question, “where does aberrant behavior come from” is always sin. Scripture tells us that we are born sinners because Adam first sinned. We are informed that sin is anything that misses the mark of God’s standard. Since God’s standard is pure perfection, sin is the cause of anything that deviates from God’s holiness. This is why it’s impossible for humanity to please God with sin in our lives. This is why we need a Savior (see What You Need to Know for more information about your sin). Further we are told in God’s Word that sin is not only inherent in all of us, it is also present in the world because of us, and propagated by Satan to destroy us.

The first and second sources are easy for most believers to understand, but the third root of sin (Satan and his demonic followers) gets a few more quizzical looks. One reason satanic/demonic activity strains our head muscles is that everything they do seems to dwell in that “unknowable” spiritual realm. Another reason is the lack of “Demons for Dummies” sections in the Scriptures.

If you couldn’t already tell, I believe the type of behavior experienced recently in Miami (and on every continent, in every country, and [I would argue] in every city of this world) probably finds it roots in demonic influence. I would like to “take back” two key ideas with this article: 1. What demons are, and 2. What they do. I believe Satan succeeds the most when affluent, “intellectuals” deny his existence and work in this world. If nothing else, I hope we will be able to see through Satan’s lies concerning his henchmen . . . demons.

Side Note: This is not the only occurrence of what they are calling cannibal/zombie behavior. More and more situations like this one are popping up in the media every day, and every time it’s discovered that a new drug called “cloud nine” is the culprit. These bath salts are being blamed for the deviant behavior of the perpetrators. But here is the point I would like to make before continuing our discussion on demon activity: drugs have always been used in conjunction with demonic rituals. I believe there is more than enough evidence to prove that even though these (and other) drugs can alter the abuser’s reality, their presence does not disprove demonic activity.

What Are Demons?

We must go all the way back to Genesis via Revelation to understand what demons are. Simply put, they are the fallen angels that were swept out of heaven when Satan was cast out (Revelation 12:4). We are told that a third of the heavenly host followed the Devil to his destruction. They are the same as angels with one major difference; instead of choosing to commit themselves to God, they chose to reject Him. Therefore, everything the Bible has to say about angels, their characteristics, and abilities can be applied to demons as well. The main point I would like to confirm here is that they did and do in fact exist. Christ Himself dealt with many demons. His acknowledgment of their existence should be good enough for anyone who is trying to take back the Bible. For this reason, I do not intend to branch off into a full-out discussion on Angelology. Beyond that, many amazing men have written volumes on the subject for our personal study. Charles C. Ryrie deals with angels and demons in detail in his work Basic Theology (I will be relying on some of his thoughts for our discussion here). To the same degree, any theology book will deal with the angelology/demonology. The real hot-point of this discussion is going to revolve around the second and third questions concerning the work of demons and whether or not they are doing anything today.

Still, so that we are all on the same page, let me say that there is no biblical evidence to support that demons are deceased individuals. In like manner, the ideas that demons are the disembodied spirits of som pre-Adamic race or that they are the offspring of Angels and men, is extremely tenuous and rely heavily on the wide extrapolation of certain biblical texts. So, it is safe to say for our discussion that Genesis’ account of the fallen angels are, in fact, the demons of today’s talk.

What Did Demons Do Back Then?

The Bible attributes various satanic duties and responsibilities of demons:

1. They afflict man. The Bible says they are able to inflict diseases (Matthew 17:15-18), cause deviant thinking (Mark 5:5), and they can bring death (Revelation 9:14-19). I must say, though, that not all physical illness can be attributed to demons (much like what Christian Scientists believe), because Christ often distinguishes between the two.

2. They bring perversion to man. They twist God’s perfect standard. They promote idolatry and false religion (Deuteronomy 32:17, I John 4:1-4, I Timothy 4:1-3).

3. They possess people. It is easy to tell from the ministry of Christ that demons possessed unbelieving individuals. They appear to have the power to completely take over the actions and words (and presumably the minds) of human beings. Many times the possessed person acted very strangely, but it is important to note that extreme behavior was not always a consequence of demon possession.

What Do Demons Do Now?

Here lies the crux of the issue. Do demons have the same duties and influences on the modern world that they had thousands of years ago. Some would quickly point to our nude friend in Miami and say, “If anyone was possessed, he was.” Third world tribes still dabble in demonology on a regular basis. Yet there are those who would say the whole thing is ridiculous, and yet a fourth group lives like it doesn’t matter. I believe my audience is probably in the first or last category.

The first truth we must grapple with is that nowhere in the Scriptures does it say that angels of any stripe have ceased their activities on this earth. In fact, we know that they have been working and will continue to work right up until the point where God throws the evil ones into eternal bondage in the Lake of Fire (with a brief 1,00 year hiatus right before that). Demonic influences on this earth are just as real and active as they were when one-third of the created angels fell like a lightning bolt from heaven. We cannot deny this point, and no amount of makeup will hide it.

What’s the Application?

As you can probably tell from my opening illustration, I do believe the example in Miami is indicative of demonic possession. Without being there and witnessing it first hand, I would still say it has all the earmarks: extremely deviant behavior (unnecessary nudity, beating a man, eating his face), and superhuman power (continuing his actions despite a bullet lodging in his body). But this is not the main focus of this discussion. Even though I hope your eyes might be opening to the fact that Satan uses his minions to pervert the world, extreme examples like the one above are probably in the minority. The real scary stuff hides behind the mundane.

Satan’s stupid (he dared defy God), but he’s not an idiot. He knows the best way to deceive men’s hearts. He knows that few people today actually believe in him, he knows that generally only primitive people still go for the whole possession-thing, but he also knows that he cannot stop his work of perversion and possession lest more people be won to the cause of Christ. So, he’s had to change his tactics a bit. But sin is still sin. Sin always destroys and it always produces behavior that falls short of God’s perfection. Sin always creates abnormal behavior . . . even today.

Let us see if we can think of some contemporary forms of aberrant actions. Hmmm. It doesn’t take long before we realize that our TV’s provides us with the answer. Shows like “Hoarders” and “Obsessed” show us that even unsaved people find certain behaviors awkward. Then there are the plethora of sitcoms and movies that make fun of certain “personality disorders” and “mental illnesses.” The Big Bang Theory and Monk are perfect examples. Of course, we cannot forget the media outlets that treat these disorders like something to be victimized by. Doctor shows, shrink shows, and talk shows cannot stop talking about ADHD, ADD, ODD, OCD, schizophrenia, phobias, and the eating disorders plaguing our society. But what do all of these shows have in common? Regardless of what the cure is, regardless of whether or not we think it’s funny or scary, the vast majority of people in America agree that these individuals are exhibiting aberrant, abnormal, and/or anomalous behavior.

Before I continue, let me say again that not every disease is a product of demon possession, so I must be careful being too dogmatic about every case. But being a counselor, I do know that the medical community has absolutely no empirical evidence to diagnose someone as having a “mental illness” beyond simply observing the patient’s behavior. There are no blood tests, brain scans, or urine samples that can help us detect a “mental illness.” But that is no excuse. To blithely label a behavior as the symptom of an otherwise improvable “disease” is foolish at best. At worst, it betrays the fact that unsaved men and women deny the existence of the spiritual. Therefore, even though they don’t understand it, they reason there must be some physiological reason behind the abnormal behavior. Unfortunately for them, just because you ignore the spiritual doesn’t make it disappear. Neither does medicating the physical.

Satan does exist. His demons still work in the lives of men today. Sin and Satan always produce destructive, aberrant behavior. Ladies and gentlemen, we are left with the profound conclusion that demon possession (and at least the effects of sin in general) are at the basis of every self-destructive and deviant behavior known to man.

So what do we do? We know that Satan is trying to tear us apart like a famished lion. We know that his henchmen are actively working in the lives of people all around us. In fact, demons may well be at work within the four walls of our own homes. If doctors can’t “cure” us, what do we do?

We take back the Bible! We choose to believe every line of God’s Word! We must accept that there are answers for all of life’s questions and trials within the pages of the holy Scriptures. We must take It back from those who would have us believe it’s not applicable and outdated. We must stand firmly on It’s promises and search it diligently for It’s answers.

This post and The New Me: Part 6 are the grand introduction for this site. My ministry this fall is going to make conversations like these a daily occurrence. By God’s grace I will be helping others wrestle with life-changing truths from God’s Word, and I want this site to be an off-shoot of that. I hope you will continue with me in this endeavor. There is wisdom in a multitude of counselors when those counselors take God’s truth and apply it to our lives.