Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Want Differently

Typically our pursuit of personal gain has more to do with material and reputation than the heart of God.  Though there is much gain in the Lord, the gains seemed to reside in places that are abruptly counter to all we really want in this world.  And therein lies the problem.  Fortunately we worship God who reorients our shallow hearts, preparing us to be receptors of His deeper ways.  Apart from this our spiritual efforts would be useless.

The prophet Malachi was surrounded by people who said, "It is futile to serve God. What did we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the Lord Almighty?"  They struggled with the reality that their obedience to God did not always produce a steady stream of goodness for them and destruction for others.

Sadly, the very grace of God we enjoy in our own lives is the same grace we end up despising in others.  God's leniency with us becomes selfishly expected because we go to church, pay a tithe, read the Bible, and avoid cursing.  But certainly not in others - especially those who walk a life in opposition to the things of God.  We eagerly anticipate rubber-necking at their pending collision with calamity stemming from a life of godlessness.  And we loathe the possibility that they might avoid immediate consequence. But can we have it both ways?  Either God's grace is big or its not.    

The moment our walk with God is primarily motivated by the dual wants of personal gain and delegated destruction is the moment we begin to drift.  And the problem with drifting is that we end up someplace we never intended.  We might not even realize how distant we have become from that peaceful, contented place in the Lord. And discontentment is a tiresome state in which to dwell.  It is energy draining not life giving.  It effects how and what we want.      

God can make us want differently.  It is our only hope.  He is the "Lord Almighty" rightly declared by Malachi's people despite their otherwise faulty declaration.  You can't change your wants but the Lord Almighty can.  No wandering heart is too far beyond His loving grasp.  There is great joy in wanting differently.  It leaves us free and captivated forever.

Ex nihilo,

R.J. Rhoden