Just about all of us want God’s guidance and help in our lives, some of us all the time but just about everyone in desperate times. Sometimes it seems like God is not coming through for us, and we get frustrated and disappointed in Him.
But often it’s things we do that prevent God from working in our lives. Here are 5 ways we short-circuit God.
1) We don’t really believe
Recently when I was reading through gospels (the parts of the bible that recount the stories of Jesus life), one of the things that stood out to me is the lengths people went in seeking Jesus’s help. People who were sick walked miles in the hopes of getting a moment with Jesus. There was the paralyzed man who didn’t just have his friends carry him to the house where Jesus was, but when he saw it was too crowded to get in, had them carry him onto the roof, dig a hole in the roof and lower him down. There was the woman who had a bleeding disorder for more than a decade, was considered “unclean,” and not permitted to be around other people, yet she worked her way through the crowd just to touch the edge of Jesus robe. People don’t do things like that unless they desperately believe that God is their only hope.
Are your prayers the spiritual equivalent of buying a lottery ticket? You don’t think it’ll pay off but it doesn’t cost you much, so why not take a flier? Or do you really believe God will come through for you?
2) We don’t ask
Sometimes we believe God has the power to do the impossible but we simply don’t ask. Maybe we’ve been put into difficult circumstances by doing something stupid or wrong, and we feel like we’re getting what we deserve. Maybe we feel like we’ve screwed up so many times God can’t possibly want to help us. Maybe we feel like our needs are too small.
God loves you no matter what you’ve done. In fact, he intentionally chooses to work through messed up, broken, and weak people like you and me because when He does, it’s obvious it was him and not us who pulled it off. But God can’t change your life or your circumstances unless you invite him in. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7
3) We want God’s help but we don’t want God
If you have kids, there are times when you probably feel like a human ATM machine. Sometimes it seems like all your kids want is your money or your help but not you. It’s frustrating as a parent, and ultimately it’s destructive to the child. In the long run, the love, understanding, wisdom, and encouragement a receives from having a close relationships with their parents is much more valuable than money. When a parent is being treated like a human ATM machine, it’s their responsibility to help the child see beyond that and improve the relationship.
The same is true of God. Sometimes we treat Him like a cosmic vending machine, asking him to help with our finances, relationships, careers, and volunteer work but keeping Him at arms length. God knows that ultimately that’s bad for us. In the long run, we benefit much more from the love, understanding, wisdom, and encouragement that come from a close relationship with God much more than the stuff does for us. Sometimes God says “no” or “wait” because helps us put Him ahead of what He does for us.
4) We take shortcuts
Sometimes we ask for God’s help and then before He has a chance to come through for us, we take short cuts and do things that violate His principles. Remember Abraham? God promised him he would father a great nation, but Abraham got tired of waiting for God and decided to sleep with his wife’s servant. Bad idea.
Some people ask God for a soul mate but rather than wait for the right person and follow God’s guidelines for sex and marriage they date someone who doesn’t share their faith and move in with them before getting married. Bad idea.
Some people ask God for help with their finances but rather than trusting for God to provide and following his guidelines for spending and deb, they fudge sales figures to get a bonus and pay for entertainment they can’t afford with a credit card. Bad idea.
God wants to come through for you. He wants to fill your life with God stories, but there can be no God stories unless we do things God’s way.
5) We quit too soon
If we want to see God do a miracle we have to hang in there when it seems all hope is lost. What if the paralyzed man and bleeding woman had said, “I’m never going to be well again, what’s the point?” and not chased after Jesus? What if David had said, “I have no shot against Goliath” and hid in the shadows like the rest of the Israeli army? What if the disciples had sent the 5,000 people away instead of distributing the 5 loaves and 2 fish? None of them would have experienced God coming through for them in a miraculous way.
Often we give up as soon as we don’t think things aren’t going to work out, and in doing so we short-circuit what God wants to do.
Most of the people who initially expressed an interest in going with me to Kenya this summer to serve at an orphanage told me they wanted to go, but didn’t have the money. They didn’t give God a chance.
My own financial situation has gone from bad to worse and there are others on our team who considered cancelling because they don’t think they are going to be able to raise the support needed to make the trip. But I say the same thing every time: I am not going to give up on God. If I get to the day where we have to pay for our plane tickets and the money isn’t there, we’ll deal with that then. But until then I am going to give God every opportunity to come through. I want to see Him do what I cannot do on my own.
How do we experience God’s power in our lives?
Do the opposite:
- Value your relationship with God above what he can do for you.
- Follow without compromise.
Questions to consider:
- Where have you short-circuited God in the past?
- Where do you you need God to come through for you now? Are you giving Him every opportunity?
[image by kingdesmond1337]