2Corinthians 3:18 "…as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him."
We Christians like to say ‘Christianity isn’t a religion - it’s a relationship.’ That sounds pretty good, but when people ask us to describe our relationship with God, we say things like ‘He’s all-powerful, and all-knowing, and loving, and He always forgives me’. All true, but still not very personal. Can we get more specific? What is He really like to live with?
When we describe our spouses to others, we may say they forgive me when I screw up, but if pressed we can get much more personal (like, she remembers the stupid things I did things I did 2 years ago – and I can’t remember what happened yesterday). What about my God? Can I be that personal about my relationship with Him? Yep. As a matter of fact, I sometimes find that He, like my wife, can be very annoying at times. Allow me to show you.
It seems like His agenda is often at odds with mine. There are times in my life when God annoys me as I’ve tried to follow Him, just because of who He is. Why can’t He just accept me the way I am, like most marriages (‘Oh well, you’ll never change him, so just live with his issues that bother you’). But He doesn’t. He works me over as He molds my character into the kind of person He wants me to be. He knows my potential, and He works me over towards it. The problem is, I often don’t work with Him, but against Him. Because I either don’t see what He’s trying to accomplish, or I don’t like what He’s doing.
So what exactly annoys me about my God? Let me offer you twelve things that make Him difficult to live with. See if these resonate with any of you. First, He thinks I shouldn’t worry (Matthew 6:27 "Which of you by worrying can add 1 cubit to his stature?" ). Second, He thinks I shouldn’t get even (Prov. 20:22 "Don’t say, ‘I will repay evil’; wait for the Lord; He will save you."). Third, He doesn’t think my anger is justified nearly as often as I do (Jonah 4:9 "God said to Jonah, ‘Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?’"). Fourth, He thinks I should be forgiving (Ephesians 4:32 "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you."). Fifth, He thinks I should pray for my enemies (Luke 6:27-28 "Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.").
Sixth, He’s way too generous with my things (Matthew 5:40 "If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also."). Seventh, He thinks problems are a good way to make me stronger (James 1:2-3 "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.").
Eighth, He isn’t impressed by what I try to do for Him (Romans 4:2 "If Abraham was justified by works, he has something of which to boast, but not before God."). Ninth, He isn’t impressed by my appearance (1Samuel 16:7 "The Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’"). Tenth, He isn’t impressed with how clever I am (1Corinthians 1:25 "The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.").
Eleventh, He sees right through me (Luke 6:46 "Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’, and do not do the things that I say?"). And finally, He expects me to keep my word (Ecclesiastes 5:4 "When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; for He has no pleasure in fools.").
So why would anyone want to be married to someone like God? Because I’m not interested in religious systems or creeds. I want God’s heart. I want Jesus Christ to make His home within me. I honestly cannot think of a greater gift anyone can offer me than to be like Him. The only reason I get annoyed is because, when I try it my way, I quickly discover how incapable I am without Him.
Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called "Faith: Substance and Evidence." He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.