How do you live with your arms wide open? I could walk around all day with my arms outspread, but I don’t think it’s going to get me anywhere. Figuring out how to do it on a spiritual level is just as difficult.
Lately, I have been faced with the task of making important decisions. I can barely make my coffee in the morning (and I use a keurig), so asking me to make “big girl decisions” doesn’t really seem like a good idea. But I guess that’s just a part of growing up….ugh.
In this world, it is too easy to fall into the comfort of a situation or a circumstance. It just feels good to be comfortable. It’s cozy, like wearing a snuggie 24/7, except no one will judge you. I am very guilty of this (the comfort thing, not the snuggie). I heard a sermon recently that talked about the book of Judges, and it was about projecting your own image of God; Christian Atheism. It just sounds offensive, doesn’t it?
I think we are all guilty, to an extent, of poor discernment. Not only am I bad at determining what God wants for my life; most of the time, I just don’t care. But I would never actually admit that (except, I guess I just did). I cover up my poor attitude by saying basically what the pastor said in his sermon, “MY God would never say that,” “MY Jesus feels this way,” or the best excuse, “I prayed about it…and I feel at peace.”
It’s much easier to live and do exactly as I please when I convince myself that God approves of it. It’s a complete projection of myself onto God. I can’t be who God expects me to be, so I turn Him into someone that lets me do whatever I want; as long as it falls into my idea of “morality” then it’s okay. I think this process is so easy to do that most people don’t even realize that it’s happening. I know I didn’t.
In my laziness and selfishness, I choose to overlook practicing spiritual discernment, and decide to look after my own interests instead. This type of self-idolization is dangerous. Because guess what? I’m going to fail. I’m going to fall, hard. People are going to piss me off, and not follow through the way I expect them to. And then what? “God, why did you let this happen to me? I’m your baby!” I am confident that there are people who will meet The Creator at the end of their lives, and be shocked to find out that they never actually knew Him, but instead had just created this idea of who they wanted Him to be. THAT is a terrifying thought.
While I claim to be living with my arms wide open, going wherever He wanted me to go, doing whatever He wanted me to do…I have my fists balled up and shoved in my pockets. When your hands are in your pockets and you start to stumble, you are guaranteed to fall flat on your face.
What is the solution to these problems of projection, idolatry, and as the pastor put it, Christian Atheism? I think spiritual discernment is important. When I am faced with a situation, how can I even begin to understand God’s will if I am not thinking Biblically and spiritually? If I am not digging deeply and rooting myself into Scripture, if I am not spending time in prayer, how will I know whether I am surrendering to The Lord or merely projecting myself onto Him? What the heck does Katherine know that is better than what God has to say? Why is all of this so much easier said than done?
Proverbs 2 sums up Biblical wisdom pretty well:
I am called to seek the wisdom and truth of God with the desperation of someone who is seeking a hidden treasure. I should be calling out to Him, raising my voice to Him, and inclining my heart to Him; I should be exhausting all of my efforts to understand the fear of the Lord and to find His knowledge. I can’t think of the last time I put that much effort into something other than trying to eat an entire tray of banana pudding (which, by the way, I accomplished).
Proverbs continues on and explains something that we should know full well by now; humans are stupid.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. [Proverbs 3:5-7]
1 Corinthians basically paraphrases that verse a few hundred years later:
This projection of myself that I constantly try to thrust upon God does me no good. My own understanding is worthless. The more I lean on human understanding, the more people I break with the weight of my sinfulness. As much as I try to worship my own understanding, it will never measure up to who God is, and what Christ did for me. Thank God the Truth is True whether or not I believe it. The consistency of God’s promises far exceeds my flakey inconsistency. It is time to dig deep, and surrender to the God that sent His son to die, so that even in my foolishness, I might stand a chance at knowing Him.