Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Our Idea VS God's Idea
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways," declares the LORD." - Isaiah 55:8
Quite often we develop our own ideas about who God is and what He wants from us. Lately I've noticed that a few of our concepts about doctrine, worship, fasting, missions, church-planting and faith are quite divergent from what God reveals in His Word. Here's a few of them for you to consider. See if you notice a theme running through a lot of these:
Our idea of Sound Doctrine:
An unwavering commitment to a set of teachings about tongues, salvation, the return of Christ, baptism, hell, etc. that must be argued for, defended, and held onto in order to preserve our denominational truth and/or identity.
God’s idea of Sound Doctrine:
“You, (Titus) however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
"Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us." - Titus 2:1-8
Our idea of Faith:
To believe that what the Bible says is true and to agree with doctrines that our church upholds as truth.
God’s idea of Faith:
"What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder." – (James 2:14-19)
Our idea of Fasting:
To abstain from food or water (or any other activity) for a set amount of time in order to pray and hopefully find an answer to our prayers or hear God’s voice for direction concerning a specific issue or question.
God’s idea of Fasting:
“Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD ?
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.” – (Isaiah 58:5-9)
Our idea of what is essential for Missions and/or Church planting:
Finding a strong pastor and leadership team, raising enough money to rent or purchase a building and marketing the new church in the community.
God's idea of what is essential for Missions and/or Church planting:
"James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews. All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do." - (Galatians 2:9-10)
"The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ." – (1 Cor 12:12)
"Now the body is not made up of one part but of many." – (1 Cor 12:14)
"But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be." – (1 Cor 12:18)
"…on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it." – (Matthew 16:18)
Our idea of knowing God:
To study the Bible and to learn as much as we can about His character and His covenant and how it all fits together.
God’s idea of knowing Him:
"He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" declares the LORD." – (Jeremiah 22:16)
"You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life." – (John 5:39-40)
Our idea of Worship:
To close our eyes and lift our hands and to sing songs about Jesus for as long as possible in order to express to God our intense feelings of love and gratitude for His goodness to us.
God's idea of Worship:
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." – (Romans 12:1-2)
"Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!"
– (Amos 5:23-24)
Note: This article is a compilation of previous articles on this theme that appeared here in September of 2010 and earlier this year.