Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience...
Thoughts for Today:My eight year old daughter Amanda came home from school yesterday with news one of her friends, "Gets to watch Hannah Montana [the television show] any time she wants!" With hands on her hips and looking me right in the eye, she asked, "So why don't I?" Having had this conversation a number of times including complete explanations and open discussion, I retreated into parent-land and said, "Because I said so, that's why." Not satisfied, Amanda inquired, "Well what would happen to me if I watched it anyway?" I have to admit I was a little perturbed, not to mention shocked -- confrontational rebellion from my normally well-behaved eight year old? I usually didn't have to deal with this phenomena until the kids were teenagers.
A few minutes further into our conversation I realized Amanda wasn't really rebelling, she just wanted to know, what bad things would happen to her [or someone else] if inappropriate television shows were watched? In other words, not punishment from Mom or Dad, but why is it bad -- how will it hurt her? Those of you who are parents know how challenging it can be to explain to an eight year old all the subtle complexities of unsuitable moral and ethical behavior demonstrated on television, versus our faith in the Lord Jesus and His example.
As I read our passage today, I realized Amanda's response was not too different from our own when choosing between Biblical direction and instruction versus our own will and demands of the flesh. Do we show contempt for God if we take an approach to life contrary to His teaching? Paul's answer is yes. We know God's patience is incredible, but too many people mistake his patience for impotence or indifference. As Amanda's earthly father I am certainly not powerless or indifferent, and if she rebelled against my will I would be forced to discipline her behavior. How much more caring and powerful is God? Do you think God is unconcerned about what we do? Are you prepared for the consequences?
Questions to Ponder:Whether children or adults, we know small things like what we watch on television can have eternal consequences because of the way it shapes and pollutes our thinking. We also know the things we shouldn't do -- and just because God is patient with us doesn't mean He isn't opposed. So what are you going to do about your rebellion? Are you going to keep ignoring God's will?