Why Are We So Inclined to Steal the Pen Out of God’s Hand? Blogging Through Our Sermon Series

As I mentioned in a post last week, our church is journeying through a 40 week sermon series called “Living God’s Story”. I’m sure all the messages will be just as good but I’ve been thinking a lot about last week’s message, “Paradise Lost”. As you can guess from the title, it’s about the Fall. Bryan used three illustrations to make his point, The Fall of Adam and Eve, the Flood of Noah and the Tower of Babel as illustrations on what happens when we as people decide to write our own stories rather than God’s.  You can listen here.

As one who is has accepted the idea of the Fall, I tend to put up my guard against these types of messages. A lifetime of enduring sermons that tell me I am a sinner in addition to my own personal confessions and a few million other reminders of how flawed I and the rest of humanity are takes a toll on you after a while. Note this isn’t to say that I prefer feel-good messages; I don’t and further, I prefer to leave my church convicted rather than “slightly better”. The best messages of course are the ones that convict us and infuse hope within our souls. But if I am being honest, I have a bit of a guard up against messages that remind of these difficult truths. I assume many can relate to this.

So these days, I find myself thinking about why is that we are so prone to writing our own stories when we claim there is a God who wants to guide, lead and strengthen us.

I know the Sunday School answers include us yelling, “It’s because our pride!” and we could quote John Calvin, “Man’s mind is like a store of idolatry and superstition; so much so that if a man believes his own mind it is certain that he will forsake God and forge some idol in his own brain”. Good line huh? But why are we so consistently guilty of it?

Back to my question, I think what bothers me is that I find that I don’t really do this in other areas in my life. Like when the mechanic tells me that I need a new *#$&^%#*#er. “That sounds so made up, what is that?” I ask. “Oh $@*&34Ism distributes power to the (*&#(*&@)( and the interesting thing is %^&^(*^ …. ”

“Never mind, here’s my credit card, please fix it.”

Why is the human heart so quick to reject the “expertise of the God of the universe” and more inclined to take the advice of the frat boy turned financial planner (this may or may not be a real example ;) in matters of their family’s financial future?

Why are we so inclined to steal the pen out of God’s hand and attempt to write our own story?  Which in thinking about it, is only a half-true.  God never forces His story upon us, but rather invites us to write down the story that best works for us.  Though it may not feel that way, the pen is always in our hands.

I think back in my own life that it’s a combination of a number of things but here’s the one I am focusing on. These days I’ve been increasingly sensitive to the lies that I have accepted and the lies that I have created for myself. Maybe it’s the Matrix movie retreat we did earlier this year, maybe it’s watching too much Inception or maybe it’s being confronted by the brutal truth of things.

What are some of the lies we tell ourselves? An obvious one is the sense of entitlement that many of us struggle against. The mind may rationalize, I have my whole life to be humble and surrendered, but right now, I need this. We fear that God, an omni-potent holy being who has asked people to abstain from all sorts of things would find whatever our request to be petty and insignificant. “He’s not going to answer this prayer anyway, I know I need it. I’ll repent later.” Another bite of the fruit is taken.

Maybe it’s in the form of doubt that either exists or creeps its way back in. It subtly whispers, “It’s a cruel world out there, you remember right? It wouldn’t hurt to take matters in your hands this time”. And the pen is stolen once again and away we write.

Let us be committed in exposing the lies we’ve been deceived by and let us join God in writing the story He has in mind for us.

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