I hadn't been a Christian very long, when my pastor asked me to teach a Sunday school class for seniors. I believe the youngest person in the class was in their late sixties. I had very little experience in relating to older people so I was terrified I might bring up a subject that might offend someone. I didn't think I should talk about sickness, or old age, or any other “senior” subject.
I tried and tried to get a conversation started within my very narrow list of safe subjects. But, most of the time I was faced with silence and blank stares. One day, in absolute frustration, I just thoughtlessly blurted out, “Are you all just going to sit here until somebody dies?”
As I was trying to reach out and take back my words, the class just broke out in laughter. And from that point forward, we always had very lively and interesting discussions about any subject. Nothing was off limits.
What do you believe is possible with God? Do you shape your belief by what He says in His Word, or by what you experience in your life? Are you limiting what God can do “in you” because you don't want to offend any of your own mindsets? Are you limiting what God can do “through you” to avoid offending anyone else because of his or her current condition or circumstance?
Here in America, we are putting on weight. We are bigger than we used to be. Should standards of fitness be lowered to accommodate and not offend those bigger individuals who want to be soldiers, police officers, or any of the other folks who protect us? Do you really want the police officer who is chasing the guy who is chasing you to run out of steam before the bad guy does?
We demand that the people who serve us be held to the highest standards. But we do not demand that we hold ourselves to God's highest standards.
I'm not talking about the expectations we have for ourselves. I am talking about our expectations of God.
I am a licensed insurance agent. When I see an insurance contract I always go to the “exclusions” section. I want to see what is not covered. If I know what is “not” covered then I know what “is” covered. I can then have a confident expectation of what “will” happen in the event of a claim.
Anyone that has anything insured “expects” things will be made right in the event of a covered loss. There is an expectation that insurance companies both can and will pay legitimate claims. Of course, there are plenty of stories about how insurance companies will try to get out of paying a legitimate claim. But still, most people have an expectation that their claim will be paid.
It is most interesting that, in spite of our negative perceptions of insurance companies, we appear to have more confidence that an insurance company will make good on its promises, than we have that God will make good on His promises.
The Word of God is His contract with us. Just like in an insurance contract, we have an “exclusion section” in the Bible, although it's not all in one place. Under these exclusions, certain conditions are required on our part to be covered by His promises—such as being required to ask if we expect to receive, being required to seek if we intend to find, etc. But, strangely, we tend to add to the “exclusions.”
The primary reason we add to the exclusions is because we see too many claims not being paid—too many of God's promises not coming to pass. Some people get mad at God over what appears to be an unpaid claim. But most of us do to God's Word what we would never do to an insurance contract: we lower our expectations for God.
It's as if someone steals our car, but we don't understand how to file a proper claim. And then we turn around and tell the insurance company: “I don't know why you're not paying this claim. But you know what's best.” How many situations like this would have to occur before we would begin to expect nothing at all?
I have no problem speaking about supernatural healing to a group of fit‐looking twenty year olds. But how am I supposed to talk about healing to a group with seventy‐five percent of the audience in wheelchairs? I don't want to offend these folks.
I have no problem speaking to junior high students about sexual purity; but how am I supposed to talk about sexual purity at the corner of Hollywood and Vine? How am I supposed to teach about prosperity at a homeless shelter?
People in wheelchairs sure look like unpaid claims. People in drag sure look like unpaid claims. People in poverty sure look like unpaid claims. And it becomes so easy for me to begin to change the contract—the Word— to fit the situation.
But when we begin to make the Word of God conform to the conditions of man, we eventually end up with nothing but religious sentiment. And there's no power left to change a life. There's only comfort.
Jesus did not die on the Cross to comfort us. Yes, we are comforted. But more importantly we are changed. He did not die on the Cross to make it possible for us to be His “wannabes.” He died on the Cross so that we could be re‐made in His image.
For all of God's promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding "Yes!" (2 Corinthians 1:20a NLT)
Have a good weekend,