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Sermons & Teachings

What I Don't Believe

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"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." James 1:22 (NIV)

Every parent knows the frustration of warning a child against something ... only to have him walk right into trouble, and suffer the consequences. "I told you so" doesn't bring as much pleasure as we might have thought.

When my first son started driving, he decided that speed "limits" were speed "suggestions." Friends told him just how far above the posted limits he could drive without getting a ticket, and he nudged past that. The police, however, have a different view of the rules. And my son learned that the cost of speeding isn't worth the few minutes gained or the momentary adrenaline rush.

My son deceived himself. He talked himself into believing the rules didn't apply to him. And for awhile he got away with it. But eventually the consequences caught up with him.

I'm not much different. I've been guilty of doing the same thing, only not with traffic rules. I've read Scripture and decided parts of God's Word didn't apply to me. I could not have been more wrong.

Growing up, I attended church faithfully and was taught from the Bible. But there were bits and pieces I ignored because they didn't seem relevant. Like honoring and submitting to my husband (Colossians 3:18). Or really forgiving someone who had offended me (Matthew 6:14-15). Or staying away from horoscopes (Isaiah 47:12-14).

It's not that I stomped my foot and demanded my own way. I simply ignored God's teaching, and quietly went about creating a faith based on my opinions and beliefs. Basically I created Christianity according to Glynnis.

Isn't it tempting to define God by our own understanding? It's so easy to say, "God would never ..." and then fill in the blank with how we think He should behave. Instead of checking that belief against the entire counsel of Scripture, we create a very safe and non-threatening God. We bring God down to our level, and forget His holiness.

James 1:22 says we deceive ourselves when we hear but don't obey God's Word. I don't know about you, but I don't like to be deceived - even by myself.

So what changed for me? I got honest and admitted this tendency to go my own way. I confessed that I didn't fully trust God's wisdom. Then I decided to accept God the way He is. It was a simple (not always easy) decision to trust that God's character is perfect, that His ways (not mine) are really best for me.

Choosing what I don't want to believe is dangerous. I might not get a ticket, but it has opened doors of consequences that took years to live through. But choosing Whom to believe is the wisest thing I've ever done.

Dear Lord, You are perfect and holy in all Your ways. Forgive me when I try to put You in a box, or make You into who I think You should be. Help me to accept that I won't understand everything this side of heaven, and that I should just trust You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

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