Once we put our wisdom above God’s wisdom, we are no different than those people who don’t believe in God.
A question that keeps on bothering me after reading the title of this chapter is that, “why is it easier to disobey than to obey?” This applies in all areas of life as well. Whenever we were given instructions to follow, we often feel obliged, if not confined into one set of particular rules that make our lives bland and boring. Then I found out what’s wrong with my question, it’s easier to disobey “sometimes” because many are doing it and it is a natural human tendency to always go where everyone else is going – unless if you are a Christian.
I always have this 1 John 1:9 thing in my heart whenever I commit grave mistakes as I insist that we are living now under the grace of God, like “Hey come on, this is new era. This ain’t old testament dude.” (of course I said this when I was talking to myself only) But, what I forgot to consider is that God just doesn’t accept us the way we really are. This has always been a misconception to everyone else.
People nowadays have this angst of saying “…this is who I am, if you can’t accept me, then don’t…” blah, blah, blah and all the drama stuff like “…I don’t have to change myself just for you to like me”. These statements may work well with people but for God, it’s just unacceptable and rude. Yes Jesus loves everybody. He loves even the sinners – the prostitutes, the thieves, the murderers. But we often set aside that he absolutely, not just categorically, hates the SIN! In other words, how dare we say “we just want to stay the same because this is just who we are” if we keep holding on to our “sins” that make us so unique?!
So, does this mean that love and acceptance don’t go hand in hand? I think yes. Tricky isn’t it? We were raised to a worldly view that if you love someone, you’re going to accept him/her as he/she is, without any reservations whatsoever. But we have a different standard in the heavenly realms. God loves us. That is a given solid fact knowing that He died on the cross for our sins. But does God just accept us as we are and go to heaven afterwards when we die doing a lot of sins on earth? Of course not. We have to do something. We have to repent and accept Him as our Lord and Savior. Now that makes us not just who we are, because something has to change and now has changed deep within the roots of our souls and spirits. As what Exodus 20:20 says, “the fear of the Lord guards us and causes us to depart from our sin”. This verse answers it all. When we fear God, we hate sin or otherwise.
This chapter emphasizes on the issues of Cain and Abel giving an offering to God and Cain’s offering was simply turned down by God. I found out this new kind of meaning and interpretation of this simple story by digging out some of the most unnoticeable facts in the bible. When I was still a student in the Sunday school, bible teachers always tell us that the reason Cain’s sacrifice was not accepted is because the crops he gave were not the “best” compared to Abel’s firstborn animal offering. But more than this, there is another catch. God doesn’t want crops as offering “during that time” [because in our period, we don’t have to give burnt offerings anymore]. He wants something with a breath of life in it. This roots in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve covered their naked body with leaves after they ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil “and still feel naked” even with a covering. So what God did was He replaced those leaves with the skin of an innocent animal. For God, this is his prescribed way and not by the fruit of the ground.
Now I realized that one of the consequences of disobedience is not being under God’s cover. In the account of Adam and Eve, before eating the fruit they don’t care and don’t feel any shame about their body. There is no insecurity towards one another. In fact, they don’t know that both of them are naked, until they disobeyed God in eating the fruit and now they gained the knowledge of the world – the standard of the world, the knowledge that is away from God. But on the brighter side though, I am thrilled to realize that even though we sin against the Lord and receive irrevocable consequences from it, still God cares. He still has mercy that is overflowing and new every morning. He still finds ways for us to get closer to Him. The reason why we stay away from Him is not because it is our choice to do so, but because we are ashamed of all the crazy things we’ve done without His supervision. You see, God is a just God. I was then reminded of the statement always mentioned by my pastor during his sermons back in the days, “…obedience is always better than sacrifice”. God has done the physical sacrifice by dying, now what we have to do is to obey His words and offer what He likes best.
As an eye opener also, I learned so much from the account of Cain after he killed his brother Abel and got mad with God causing him to rebel. This is what is happening to us nowadays, accept it or not. By not getting what we want and others get it, while we feel so equal with that guy who got the blessing, we asked God why did he not do the same for us. When we say it, we open up widely the windows and gates of our hearts for sin to crouch in and eat us alive! When sin gets its entry point, it injects viruses that quickly spread and produce hatred, insecurity, loneliness, discontentment, rage, fear, and a lot more to mention until we feel numb of the conviction of the Holy spirit. Nobody wants that. Nobody wants to live his life without love. Because without love, there is no life – for God is love, and by His love for us, a life was created. Since our lives were created out of God’s love, then to whom should we offer it to?
Lastly, as a newfound learning, I was waken up to my senses that if we start to disobey God, we are now relying to our own wisdom that makes us so vulnerable to all forms of the enemy’s attack – may it be in the battle of the mind, the lust of the flesh, or the desire for power. And it’s not just a small issue! Pastor John Bevere said that this can be compared to a little unnoticeable crack in a huge dam. If it starts to crawl in, the force of the water surrounding it is so magnanimous that it could easily break in and shatter us into pieces without us being able to pull off unless we let God. After chewing this idea in my head, I then asked myself, “am I serving a God that is carved by my own standard and limitations of what God is?” Of course I would say no. Even all the Christians surrounding me would say the same. But come to think of it, once we put our wisdom above God’s wisdom, we are no different than those people who don’t believe in God. The only difference is that we can be seen in church raising up our hands singing Hallelujah while they are there outside feasting in their own self-proclaimed success.
We need to see the truth. John 14:6 says Jesus is the truth. But how do we start seeing it? The tool lies within our hearts and our will. We need to be humble towards God.
To grab a copy of John Bevere’s book “Under Cover”, click on the link below:
Though this article was published a month ago, I still would like to contribute it to the Conventional Wisdom blog posts to inspire others in obeying God.