Thursday, May 8, 2014

Is God a Vending Machine?

I like getting what I want when I want it.  I have no patience for patience.  And what I want is rarely  what is good for me.  My impatience and demands increase in frequency and stridency the more I am desiring that which is not in my best interest....funny how that happens. 

Have you ever felt like you were going crazy if you couldn't eat some broccoli....or.... mow your lawn?  When was the last time you got an insatiable and attitude shaping hankering for a healthy salad?  

What?!? You are telling me that your rarely feel that way about those things???  Welcome to the club.  As many of you know I have radically overhauled my health lifestyle in the last 5  years.  In general I eat pretty healthy and take good care of myself.  But even after 5 years of healthy choices I still get mildly obsessed over stupid unhealthy stuff.  Just last night, my beautiful wife went to bed early and I felt a bit hungry.  Did I immediately reach for a bowl of broccoli with some carrot juice to wash it down?  Of course not, I made a pb&j with potato chips and washed it down with whole milk.  mmmmmm.  And until I ate it I was literally obsessing over it.

What's wrong with me?  I chalk this moment of weakness to the fact that I lift heavy weights 5-6 times a week and my protein needs are higher than they used to be....but I probably would have been fine with something healthier.  But I wanted what I wanted and I wanted it NOW!!!

We are wildly selfish and shortsighted in so many ways.  And we apply this mindset(often unknowingly) to how we approach God.  We want what we want and we want it now.

In John 14 Jesus says,
13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

This proof texted passage becomes our life verse.  We want what we want, AND, we will invoke Jesus' name when wanting it and "voila" we got it!!!

Let's accept something together.  When we want what we want RIGHT NOW, it is often arguably not what is actually best for us.  So lets stop treating God like a vending machine whose value we perceive only through the lens of whether or not He gives us exactly what we have decided we want.

Whenever we read scripture we cannot just pick and choose verses and passages at random and in a vacuum to cobble together our point.  We cannot read John 14:13-14 in a vacuum either.  In Luke 11 Jesus teaches us how to pray.  Without repeating the Lord's Prayer here...suffice it to say, it does not read like a "how to manual" on how to get stuff, but, a challenge to empty ourselves of self and submit to God and His Glory. 

So what could we reasonable offer as the understanding of John 14:13-14?  Well, the surrounding passages are all about Jesus calling His disciples to the ministry of the Gospel.  To read this contextually requires us to understand that Jesus is telling His disciples that they can trust God to empower them to preach the Gospel with power and effectiveness for the Glory of God! 

Again, this is not the instruction manual to getting stuff.  It is the call to glorify God and know that you ARE empowered to do so. 

God is not a vending machine who exists to give you fancy baubles.  He calls you to Himself and then sends you out to proclaim that the captives are free and that sin is defeated.  What you and I need is not more things to fill up our houses with, but, more boldness to glorify the risen Savior!


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