God why won’t you let me do this?

2nd Look 3.15.16

“God why won’t you let me do this?”
This is a question I have asked often. After all there are lots of things out there I would love to do and yet it seems from the scriptures that God has asked us not to do them. Why? Why would He be such a cosmic killjoy?
Let’s put on our “Philosopher” hats for a second.

Here’s our original question: “Why would God give us a list of things we can’t do – when all those things seem so enjoyable and many who do them are happy?”

There are several possible answers to this question:

  1. God is mean, and a jerk. He takes joy in making us suffer – in robbing us of things that are fun and pleasurable.
  2. God is foolish. He tells us to avoid things and make a big deal out of things that aren’t really a big deal because He’s actually misguided in his prudish notions. He’s making mountains out of molehills because he is foolish.
  3. God is uptight. Maybe that’s simply the case; God likes things the way He likes them – he’s inflexible- uptight – a cosmic snob.
  4. God is wise and has a great reason. This is the one I want to develop a little bit.
Ok – so if any of the first three options are true – then there is reason to distrust God and the picture of the life He calls us to. BUT – to be honest – if there is an all powerful God who has told us to do something or we’ll be crushed like a bug – do we really have an option to go against Him?  We do so to our peril. For any of the first three answers – it doesn’t matter what God’s intentions are because we are simply his creations at his disposal and whim.
But this is not the picture we see painted in the scriptures. The picture; or the claim; the scriptures make, is that God is good; benevolent; loving; and all wise. If this teaching is true then our answer to the initially proposed question is this:

Question: Why does God ask us to avoid things that seem to be so pleasurable and fun?
God exists and created all things.
God is all wise and loving.
If these two statements are true – then it is logical to assume.
The loving, all wise, God who created all things would have a good reason.
The ask us to avoid certain things.
Because He knows the best way to live – and that these things ultimately hurt us.

I think we see this thought in 1 Corinthians 6:12. I want to invite you to take some time the remainder of this week with this verse. Read it – reflect on it. In the end – we might need to avoid destructive things because – that is exactly what they are – destructive. Here’s the verse. Have a great week everybody:

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything.

1 Corinthians 6:12

Thanks for the Info, now what?

Hello SNC friends!
Can you believe it? We finished our series on Tough Questions – Solid Answers. I had a great time discussion these things with you. This is a major area of passion for me although I would admit I am nowhere near as nuanced a philosopher and scientist as many of those who contribute to this discussion are. I’m a novice – but have deeply enjoyed this pursuit over the years. It was truly wonderful bringing this material to our Sunday mornings and really having this dialogue. My hope is that you can use it, return to it if you are wrestlying – or maybe ministering to a friend who has difficult questions. I’d like to take some time to share my answer to someone who asks me to explain why in the world I’ve decided to lose my mind and be a Christian! Here is my (hopefully short and clear) answer:

“Joe, thanks for asking me that question. I know it might seem crazy to you, but I have really thought about this and wrestled with it through the years. If you’ve got a few minutes, I’d love to share with you several reasons why I have decided to place my faith in Jesus Christ.

As I begin I’d like to say is that I am going to share multiple pieces of evidence that could point to the existence of a God and that Jesus is Him – but each piece may not be enough to prove God’s existence on its own – but when you line them up together it begins to look more and more compelling to me that Christianity is true. Now I just want to share these reasons with you and then we can discuss questions you may have for the reasons I gave.

Okay, first thing I’d like to point to is science. I know this is disputed but it seems to me that science has not disproven God’s existence, but rather it may actually point us to a creator. I see the vast scope of a universe that seems to have a design behind it – I see the brilliant design of a human being and find it hard to explain how we just got here on our own. To me, I look around me and am in awe of it all. To me – I’ve read and throughout a lot about this – it just seems to me the explanation of a God behind it all is just as compelling if not more than the explanation  of God’s non existence.

Secondly, I think Christianity gives us the best explanation as to why we can define what evil is – and the best explanation for why it exists and it gives us the best hope for us in the midst of this evil.

Third, I see the Bible as an historically and archaeologically accurate and philosophically strong book that changes lives. I know the Bible has been scoffed at but every attack I’ve seen brought against it seems to fail. This lends credence to the words within it.

Fourth, I find Christianity to be the most compelling religion (atheism included), philosophically; morally; archaeologically; and to be honest – I find it to be the most hope and life-giving of all religions out there.

Fifth, the evidence for the existence, the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus Christ is very powerful and compelling to me. Jesus was either raised from the dead – or He wasn’t. If He wasn’t then He is just a man and Christianity is just another religious system – but if He was raised from the dead – then Christianity is something else entirely.

Sixth, I’ve seen how my relationship with Jesus has changed my life and the lives of millions throughout history who claim they have not only had a relationship with God but they have seen Him move in powerful ways. To me – all these testimonies together is very powerful.

So these are my six major reasons for belief in God and in Jesus Christ.”

How would you describe why you believe in Jesus? You don’t have to use big philosophical words or concepts – but can you explain why you believe what you do? In 1 Peter 3:15 we are encouraged to always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is in you . . . My hope was to help you arrive at your reasons and be prepared at all times to share that if asked. So let me ask you – this week pull out a piece of paper and a pencil. And write down these questions:

  1. What do I find to be most convincing about the Christian faith?
  2. Why is it most convincing?
  3. How would I communicate this to others?

Have you ever thought about this? I have confessed that sometimes when I’m on long drives I pretend I’m in a discussion with a non-christian, and I try to answer questions that would be asked to me. I think about how I would answer questions: what I’d say and how I’d deliver it. As we move forward in our mission to make disciples, I can guarantee: you will be questioned. My hope is that you will be ready and it’s awesome because so many times, I find there will be points in the conversation where I’m not ready and yet God powerfully moves through me. These are very exciting tines because I’m reminded it’s not my intellect or persuasiveness that wins the day – but God’s Holy Spirit speaking to a heart and moving someone. May God bless you richly in your mission with Him!

Pastor Ryan