What Am I Doing, and Why Am I Doing It?

I had some prayer time with God today while I went for a walk, and I was confessing some things to God, among them an addiction (I have tried not to call it that, but it is what it is) to gambling. I used to love going to the casino and playing/watching poker, largely because I was decent at it, and so didn’t lose the money that most do at a casino. God put a question on my heart today in trying to help me realize some various points He needed to hammer home. The question is this: “If you had $100 to do whatever you wanted with, no repercussions, what would you spend it on?” I wrestled with this. Would I go gambling? Would I spend it on my wife or daughter?

Ultimately I came to the realization that I wouldn’t gamble, which helped me draw the conclusion that God has helped me overcome that addiction. But what was worse was that God made it clear that in trying to choose between a small handful of things, I neglected to ask, “What would You have me do with that?” See, while I might have overcome my addiction, what I have yet to overcome is the selfish attitude that the casino touts as glorious and the word deifies as success. Not once until God made it clear to me did I think that maybe buying food for the homeless or donating it to missions might be a better use of that money than on myself. I didn’t think about what would bring Him the most glory.

Why does God ask us to do these things? It’s a question that I had to ask myself when an atheist recently asked me to put myself into Abraham’s shoes when he was asked to sacrifice Isaac. Though I tried to make myself appear humble by quoting Isaiah 55:9, it made me stop and ask myself what the purpose of going through these things is. I came to a couple of conclusions:

1) God’s ways are not our ways. In the Abraham/Isaac situation, we tend to base the morality of the situation on the action being performed. God’s morality is based on how we treat the request. Our way goes on the physical nature of the act; God’s way goes on the heart’s intent behind the act.

2) God would not ask anything of us that He’s not willing to do Himself. God asks for our sacrifice because He has sacrificed. God asks for us to set ourselves apart because He has set Himself apart. God asks us to go and pursue men because He has pursued us. God asks us to be obedient because He is always obedient to His own nature, since He is clear that He will never change.

I cannot possibly hope to understand everything God does in this world, and why He does it. I only know that He asks something of me, and I do it because there is no reason not to. God has demonstrated why He asks, what He is looking for. When I study, when I listen, He is clear. Perhaps there is so much moral ambiguity because we spend all of our time deciding what we think is right instead of listening for why His way is right.

My verse for this week I think sort of fits in this jumbled mess of a post, because it is about letting self go and understanding that God’s ways are not my ways, but His power is greater than any way I can possibly fathom to get it done:

    “If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” — 1 Peter 4:11
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11 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by carlosmarti123 on July 19, 2011 at 1:49 AM

    Nice blog! Keep following the Way and God bless!

    Reply

    • Thanks Carlos! God bless you as well!

      Reply

      • Posted by carlosmarti123 on July 19, 2011 at 1:55 PM

        It was nice quoting Isaiah 55:9.

        Sometimes we don’t know why God does certain things or asks us to do something for Him. It’s essential for us to understand that, like a child who doesn’t always understand why his parents do something, we face Him in humility and place our trust in Him. The failure to do this is demonstrated in Genesis, when Adam and Eve turned away from God.

  2. I read this statement you wrote on another blog:

    “God doesn’t send anyone to hell. We choose hell by rejecting God.”

    Really?

    Didn’t God create hell? Why would he create such a place in the first place? (for free will? Can’t we have free will without an eternity of hell being an option?) He made the “rules” so why does Hell have to be an option? If he is all knowing then doesn’t he know who is going to Hell, thus we are created to go to Hell? I think I would rather have not been created than spend an eternity in Hell because I was too hard headed or couldn’t be convinced that God exists… Sorry I know it’s a lot at once. Just some stuff I’ve been thinking.

    Thanks.

    Reply

    • Interesting questions. These seem borne out of a Calvinistic view on pre-destination and election. The same arguments you make for hell can be made for sin (God created us to sin, because He knew sin would happen). But that argument would then mean that God causes sin, when you take it out to reductio absurdum. And as such, He would cease to be God. So in relation to hell, it would be that God causes people to go to hell, and again, He would cease to be God at that point, because that goes against God’s omnibenevolence.

      So I think if you really believe that God is omnibenevolent, then a view of God is not one that promotes sin or hell, but rather permits it. Is there Scriptural evidence for this? Absolutely. If God were to create people in order to send them to hell, this verse in Ezekiel 18 makes no sense: “Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?”

      I hope that helps. If God doesn’t want us to go to hell, then the only reason we go there is by rejecting the free gift of grace that God offers us. That makes it our choice, and not God’s.

      Reply

      • I do not know if I necessarily believe in predestination nor that God is omnibenevolent. If God created all things that would include evil, the option for evil, as well as sin, and the option for Hell.

        Also, if God created all thinks that would include the “rules” and our very nature. It is our nature to be sinful and God created hell for sinners, which seems conflicting to a God that wants us all to go to heaven…

        Why didn’t he create a world where were have free will, but it is in our nature to do good and Hell is not an option? The God described in the bible doesn’t make sense to me. I appreciate free will and the option to choose, but I think I would rather just be blissfully happy than have an option to burn in an eternal pit of fire…

        Maybe I am misunderstanding. Thanks for the responses to my questions, I appreciate it.

      • God cannot do things that are contrary to His nature. He cannot lie, for instance. But this also means that the God of the Bible would be unable to sin, for sin is contrary to His nature. Sin, expressed in reality, is evil. So God cannot sin, and as a result cannot create sin. If you believe He can, then we are not talking about the same God, and your questions are better served elsewhere. If you would like to discuss my God, then use my terms. There is sufficient Biblical evidence to show that God did not create sin nor evil, and instilled in us attributes and characteristics that flow from His actuality. Evil is not a part of either of those, so a claim that “If God created all things that would include evil…” is at this present time a baseless claim, because there is no evidence to support this view. Or at least there is no evidence to support this view of the Christian God.

        Why didn’t he create a world where were have free will, but it is in our nature to do good and Hell is not an option?

        God is omnipotent only if he can perform actions that are logically possible for him to perform. For example, God cannot create square circles or married bachelors in any possible world. So if God is a logical entity, do we have reason to believe that he could create a world of free creatures who always choose good over evil? In the same manner that God cannot create a square circle, he cannot make someone freely choose to do something (forced freedom is illogical). Thus, if God grants people genuine freedom, then it is impossible for him to determine what they will do.

  3. This is illogical. God’s nature? Are you saying God is programmed a certain way, that things are out of his control – his nature, which he cannot change? God cannot do things against his nature? Is this biblically supported?

    The very existence of sin and evil is proof in itself that God created it, as he created everything that exists. Right?

    Genuine freedom? Are we free?

    Reply

    • Yes, God has a nature just like we have a nature. No, God is not programmed, because that would imply a programmer. God, as the greatest conceivable Being, is pure Actuality. So the characteristics and attributes that make up God (love, holiness, omnipotence, majesty, etc.) are what we consider His nature. But He possesses these things in their purest and perfect form, which is why He is able to pass them on to us, His creation. To say God “cannot change” is not thinking about it in the right way; rather, God will not change. It’s the difference between wielding power and rendering a promise.

      God being unable to do things against His nature is absolutely Biblically supported. Consider this verse: “Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:17-19a (emphasis mine)

      The very existence of sin and evil is proof in itself that God created it, as he created everything that exists. Right?

      I told you before, no, God did not create sin. God created free will, and man (and Satan) created sin as a result of choosing to do wrong (i.e. giving in to pride).

      Are we free? That’s a question you ought to ask yourself. Do you have the ability to make choices on a daily basis? That would be genuine freedom.

      Reply

  4. Posted by Doctor Bad Sign on July 23, 2011 at 2:40 AM

    There’s a problem with your ‘objective moral standards’, on my blog you made a comment saying:

    “there is no reasonable objective moral standard apart from God.”

    And you later claimed that:

    “In order to be objective, there could be no possible situation in which this would be false.”

    Okay so, this would mean that in order for your moral standards to be objective there could be no possible situation in which ‘Thou shall not kill’ would be false, yet you claim that like Abraham you would obey God’s command to kill if such a command was made.

    This is a situation in which in which ‘Thou shall not kill’ would be false, so how is it objective?

    Or is it still objectively wrong despite God commanding it?

    Reply

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