For most of us, grandfathers are wonderful figures to have in our lives – never as stern as our fathers, but not overly soft on us either at times, but certainly great people to have about when you want to be spoilt. But our fathers – well, that’s often a different story. Some of us may have a father who has been wonderful and equally spoiling in their manner, as well as being a great role model for us, whilst others may have a father who is so stern as to almost be unapproachable, unwilling or unable to be loving, or incapable of connecting to us. Whichever camp you fall into I suspect you will still have a warped view of how to relate to God particularly if you’re under 30 and don’t know Him, but even us oldies can fall into the trap of viewing God as some genial grandfather in the sky. We have grown up for the most part (particularly in the West) with the concept that God is good and we have heard Him described as a Father thus we expect Him to be there to keep us safe, look out for us, heap benefits and blessings on us, and generally be nice to us. And hence when the tough times hit or things don’t go well, we tend to either determine He’s not so hot after all, or else blame everything on Satan as if God has no control on our circumstances (except on the good ones!).
There is a huge danger in either perspective. If you are a parent you will know how important it is for children to learn that while you love them, you can’t always give them everything they think they want, because they’re absolutely not mature enough to appreciate that while certain things may seem nice or good (sweets) to be allowed them constantly would not be, and so you teach your children the meaning of “No” – and over time, your children come to appreciate that, for the most part, when you deny them something it’s for their own good. However, certainly as children get older, they may well resent you for that denial and consider you to hate them, or certainly not love them as they perceive you should. While a poor analogy, it’s somewhat similar with us and God. He is outside of time and space, and has created us for His purposes, not ours, (hard as that may be to accept), and that purpose is to glorify Him (certainly if we’re Christians).
My primary point is that if you think that God is there purely for you to use as some cosmic genie in the sky, you may have a tougher life than otherwise as rather than submitting to His Will you will constantly be rebelling against it. And He has stated numerous times in scripture that His love and mercy are against those who transgress (sin) against Him. Which brings me back to another post of mine and a repetitive point on the errancy of thinking you’re in any way deemed “good” by God just by nature of your own reasoning and actions etc – dangerous, dangerous stance to take. Just know this – when you die and stand before God, you will have NO, and I mean NO defence if you’ve not accepted Jesus as your Saviour, and you will thus be under the full weight of God’s wrath against the sin in your life, which ultimately will mean you being under the weight of eternal punishment (hell). And if you don’t believe in any of this, well, that won’t be a defence either at that point. But I digress. The important thing to note is that God is not your God to ask anything of, until you submit to Him and repent so expecting Him to answer your prayers positively is futile before then. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because your life’s pretty good you must be ok with Him – read about a rich man who probably thought just that:
There was a certain rich man who was customarily clothed in purple and fine linen and making merry in luxury every day. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, who was laid at his gate, full of sores and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. But even the dogs came and licked his sores. And it happened that the beggar died and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom. The rich one also died and was buried. And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame”. But Abraham said, “Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things. But now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, there is a great chasm fixed between you and us; so that they desiring to pass from here to you cannot, nor can they pass over to us from there.” And he said, “I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may testify to them, lest they also come into this place of torment.” Abraham said to him, “They have Moses and the Prophets, let them hear them.” And he said, “No, father Abraham, but if one should go to them from the dead, they would repent.” And he said to him, “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded, even though one rose from the dead.” Luke 16:19-31
Jesus came and died for a purpose – and that purpose was to pay the price for your sins to His Father – something you can’t do on your own no matter how “good” you are, and you cannot enter heaven unless that price is paid this side of the grave. In other words, contrary to opinion, you can’t plead your own case and somehow change God’s mind once you’re there standing before Him in judgement.
I can’t stress this point enough, which is why I’m perhaps going on about it a bit longer than usual – it’s so, SO important you take note of this and act upon it if you haven’t done so already in your life, as time is running out so fast it’s sobering. There’s so much more I want to say on this topic, but it’ll have to wait until another post, another day. For now, PLEASE don’t waste the precious minutes God gives you but instead investigate what Jesus did for you on the cross and why, and be willing to submit to Him and repent.
All have gone aside, together they are filthy; there is none who does good, no, not one. Psa 14:3