Maybe I don’t understand popular preaching, but sometimes I get the feeling that I’m to believe I have nothing to be concerned about. God loves me so much, what I say and do doesn’t matter. As long as I have “confessed Christ,” I’m part of God’s family, no matter what. I only need to keep believing, and all my dreams will be fulfilled.
Whoever put this message together for the first time is a genius. (1) If I get what I want, my belief has been validated. (2) If I don’t get what I want, but keep believing, I remain sure the answer will come momentarily. (3) And if I choose not to believe anymore, then my unbelief has to be the cause for why it doesn’t happen.
If that’s working for you, great. But Peter might have had a problem with that message. The hundred-fold blessing Jesus promised in his life (Mark 10:28–30) included beatings, imprisonment, and crucifixion. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t what Peter was praying and believing for.
The scary thing for me is assuming that God wants what I want. Is it possible that he has a plan for the struggles I endure? He has the power to blow a winning lottery ticket up on my doorstep, but apparently he has a better plan. I’ll have to defer to whatever that turns out to be.
Here are some frightening verses that keep me humble, searching for his way, not mine.
- There is a way that seems right but ends in death. — Proverbs 14:12
- On Judgment Day, many will say, “Lord, didn’t we prophesy, cast out evil spirits, and do many wonderful deeds in your name?” Then I will tell them, “I never knew you. Get away from me, you disobedient lawbreakers.” — Matthew 7:22–23
- If you do not forgive, your heavenly Father will not forgive your sins. — Mark 11:26
- If anyone publicly acknowledges me before men, I will publicly acknowledge him before my Father in Heaven. But anyone who denies me before men, I will deny before my Father in Heaven. — Matthew 10:32–33