Sinning in the process of contending is bad, but refusing to contend can be worse because it allows Satan to eat away at our core uncontested. As a result, I have learned to raise my hand and question God, not as a means of putting Him on trial, but of acknowledging my frustration and seeking divine guidance. (Yesterday’s post)
But where does the critical line lie? What should we not ask, and how should we not ask it?
We find Jesus in the Garden, sweating drops of blood as He prayed before His crucifixion. In His prayer He appealed to His Father, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup be taken from me” (Matthew 26:39). Perhaps this is not true contention, but it does find the very Son of God reconsidering the agreed upon strategy. This seems strange since it is clear from Jesus’ earlier comments He understood what needed to happen to win our salvation (Mark 8:31). With a heavy heart and the cross looming in the future, our Lord needed assurance. Then He spoke these important words: “Yet, not as I will, but as you will.”
We know Jesus did not sin. Therefore, it must be permissible to ask God for confirmation when we aren’t sure the sorrow we have been asked to bear is necessary. But we must come as Jesus did, with an attitude of obedience.
On the other end of the spectrum we find the children of Israel worshipping a golden calf at the foot of Mt. Sinai because they grew impatient while Moses was on the mountain receiving God’s Law. They called the faithfulness of God and Moses into question and chose to put their trust in an idol instead. As a result, God’s wrath was poured out on them and they learned the hard way there is a line one must not cross.
Both Jesus and the Israelites were concerned about the future, but one chose to remain in the Father’s will and the other to step outside it. This is the line. It is permissible to respond to frightening or complicated circumstances in life by testing God’s perceived will in our lives, but as we do we should come in humility, with every intention of obeying: even if it kills us.
Does this “critical line” make sense to you? Are there others?
Dear God, guard my heart from sin when I have questions. In Jesus’ name, Amen.