Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I'm More Afraid of . . .

As I was talking with Mary Ann about Sunday's teaching on Genesis 16 (in which Sarai gave her maidservant Hagar to Sarai's husband Abram to try and get the son God promised them Abram would have) I was struck with a thought: I am more afraid of my good intentions than my bad. What I mean by this is that I don't set out to deliberately disobey God or do "evil" things and I can pretty easily recognize those things and say "no" to them. I usually know and recognize when my intentions are bad, and it is really then a simple question of choosing to obey God or my flesh. Whichever decision I make it is clear and I usually am aware I am making it.

It is my "good intentions" that are really, for me, the most dangerous. I believe that Sarai and Abram had really good intentions. Think about the depth of Sarai's good intentions and desire to do for God that she would give another woman to her husband. But, those good intentions---decieving in how dangerous they are because they are "good"---caused tremendous hurt and pain for those involved and have caused ripples of unrest and war to this day.

So often we step out of that place of pure faith, of trusting God completely, and don't even realize it because we are "good intentioned". But, really, our good intentions can easily be a substitute for faith and standing on God as we seek to take some level of control back, or at least to feel like we are "doing something." This isn't to say that faith doesn't require action. Not at all. But it must be God-directed action. Peter's intent to save Jesus from Jesus' fate was met with, "Get behind Me Satan" because Peter was not mindful of the things of God but of the things of man.

The life of faith sometimes seems like a scary free-fall because we are living totally in a realm of trust, but it is really the only place we are securely in the center of God's palm. I need to make really, really sure that my "good intentions" are not really a running ahead of God, or a substitute for trust and faith. The last thing I want is to be in a place where I am not in God's will, and I am finding I get that way more often acting on my "good intentions" than my "bad" ones. Thoughts? Comments? Or did this even make any sense at all?


  1. Yes, Erick, what you said made sense. An example would be when I moved to CA from MI to take care of my dad. My intentions were good -- but was it really God's will?

    I have questioned that many times since 2001. I have decided that even if it had not been God's will, in this case God knew my intentions were to be in His will. So if I made a mistake in thinking it was His will, he "worked around it." Do you think so?

    Maybe this is a bit different from what you are thinking?

  2. Thanks, Amy! I treasure thoughts like yours that help us draw closer to His heart and will. Yes, I absolutely believe that God can take anything we surrender to Him and work around and through it, but we often still have the consequences of the decision to deal with. My heart is to grow to where I can so recognize His voice that I can make His first choice be my first choice, and avoid the whole need for a workaround. I find in the obvious "bad" things it is pretty clear what He does, or doesn't, want. It is the things that aren't so clearly black and white where I get in trouble. Often I race in to something without waiting long enough on His voice. It feels right because I am doing something and that something seems good, but it is too often not right. For me it is much easier to do something than to simply trust and wait in faith, in the absence of direction. I know that there are times when we simply have to do something, and that is when knowing His Word and His character make such a difference in trying to determine a best choice. Let me know what you think. Everyone's prayerful comments welcome!

  3. Do something. Help God along. Yes. I'm in that spot now. I have a friend who is a new believer and I want to DO SOMETHING to aid in his growth. But I need to prayfully consider what to do and how much. I'm pretty sure that the answer is not to buy him a bunch of study guides and/or always be "spouting Bible verses" (as I was once accused of doing). (I guess I'm a whale of a Christian!) But this is a case where "all I want to do is help" could mean choosing the wrong good thing to do.

    But I cling to the belief that God wants us to know His will more than we want to know it -- so He will work to reveal His plan to the surrendered heart. Like you, I yearn for the day when His first choice is always my first choice: the bliblical version of the TM prhase "positive right thinking." Let's call it "positive God thinking." I long for positive God thinking because then not only will I be doing what best pleases Him, I will also be living in the close fellowship with Him that so often seems to elude me.


Thanks for your comments, I look forward to and value your sharing. Due to a large number of SPAM comments, you will need to enter a word verification before your comment will be sent to me for moderation. Your comment will be visible after I publish it. Erick

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