Dr. Stanley Spence, Pastor First Baptist Church, Lincolnton, N.C.
The greatest challenge in my life today is letting God be God.
I’ve spent much of my life in school studying the discipline of the divine. My degrees in Divinity have taught me something I didn’t want to learn. One concept in particular is the behavior of letting God be God. Frequently, we take an idea or an understanding we have of God and apply it to our lives the way it seems best to us while failing miserably to make room for God to work. I served in a church at one time as a staff member and watched a layman with the added power of influence who demanded a pastor take a course of action. The pastor feeling pressured and not convinced of God’s leadership yielded to the layman’s logic. Upon execution of their plan, the results didn’t go so well and the layman himself admitted, “I didn’t see it going that way in my head.” When I launch out into what seems right to me to the exclusion of the revelation of God, I pay and pay again for following my plan and not God’s.
This is a struggle for Christians. We believe God is teaching us and leading us for the higher purposes of the Heavenly Kingdom. Why wouldn’t we use our best guesses in our own understanding? Sometimes we move with such determination that God can’t break in and say anything to us and expect to be heard. We are sure we are right--and the next thing you know, we are apologizing to God for how everything turned out.
If I feel pressure to open the church without restrictions because other churches are opening up without cautions, when one of our members gets sick and dies from exposure to COVID-19 because I fail to use the wisdom God provided me, a narcissist would say, “It must have been God’s will they died.” A humble Christian would say, “I should have listened to the caution God placed in my heart.”
None of us can know the perfect course for everyone and anyone who says they know is stretching their knowledge beyond the realm of reality. Demanding God agrees with you is always a dangerous disregard of the recognition of God as God. If you know everything, then you are not trusting in God; you have made yourself a god. Who needs to hear God when you can consult yourself?
Let God be God; He knows the way this world and universe is to unfold. To be His servant, requires one to yield to God's plan and not the other way around. Thanks be to God. As that song from years ago says “He’s got the whole world in His hands….”
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