Beginning the second part of his sermon series on Trust, Pastor Phyl talked of the time when things were simple; when things like ice cream came in only three flavours, and when coffee came in only four types.
This isn’t the case any more. We can customise so many things now, even weddings. Everything can be customised. We complicate things. We want them all customised to suit our needs, and want the world to fit in with us.
The thing is, that in this process, we can also customise God, taking out the bits of scripture that doesn’t fit in with what we want to see; the parts that we don’t like. We can develop a tendency to question the scripture, “It doesn’t really mean that, does it?” We customise Him to fit in with us. We develop ‘tippex bibles’, where we cross out the unpalatable things and only take the parts that fit in with us. We try to change God to fit in with us.
The pastor of Life Church in the US developed the “You Version” Bible, where a number of different translations, such as the NIV, KJV, etc are all collected together. The thing is, we take the idea of the ‘you version’ even further.
There is a book entitled “The Christian Atheist”, which talks of people who believe as if God exists, but behaves as if He doesn’t. This is what we become if we try to customise God, and don’t follow the second part of our verse for the year.
Pastor Phyl drew our attention, once again to this verse, from Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
The first part looks at how we believe, and the second part of this verse looks at how we behave. We are called to be obedient and to submit to Him. We shouldn’t dare to customise Him. He is either the Lord of all, or He is not Lord at all.
We customise and limit Him in so many different ways, but He knows no limits. The God of the Bible knows no limits, whereas the God in our head has plenty of limitations.
The thing is, we are all the same, and we are loved by God in the same way. Psalm 36:1-2 talks about how we often look at ourselves and thing of ourselves as special, rather than putting ourselves on the path of the sinful, where we really belong. In this ‘blind conceit’, we cannot see how wicked we really are. Blind conceit!
We turn to Him and say that we trust Him, but then we refuse to submit to Him, but we must honour God, and to do so, means to submit to His calling on us. We ask Him to direct our path, but don’t honour Him with what we have.
Pastor Phyl then went on to say that the thing that has been lost in our ‘customised world’ is the fear of God. Fear in this context essentially means to trust God.
Phyl gave us a simple equation for this, which is: Love of God + Respect for God = Fear of God.
God is a god of love and of justice. He cares for us, and is trying to champion our cause. He wants what is best for us, but in order for us to obtain this, we must first, submit to Him.
Scriptures: Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 36:1-2.