Y’all! I have a very important question for you. How in the world do you use your debit or credit card to pay for items?
With all of the hustle and bustle of purchasing gifts, I have found myself in this predicament over and over again. One time it works if I slide the card. The next, I need to insert it into the machine. Usually, the touch-free option isn’t available. Sometimes the cashiers just type in the numbers.
Then when it does finally accept the payment, the machine starts bleating loudly to remove the card.
All I’m saying is that in a world where Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, I could use a little of that consistency in the checkout line.
These transactions led me to considering our transactions with God. I’ve listened to pastors refer to our view of a “Fairy Jesus”; a magical being who sprinkles us with good parking spots and happy moods. Pastor Steven Furtick preached a series refuting that notion in which he referred to Jesus as a “savage”. This seems more fitting if you’ve read more than just the Proverbs.
But I think we still get caught up in the idea that there’s a formula we must use with God.
- We are “good”.
- We pray and ask him for blessings.
- A slot machine of blessings comes out.
- We feel we deserve the outcome.
This is not accurate, friends. It makes us feel like we have done something to earn God’s favor. It omits all of the times you weren’t good, and He blessed you anyway. It leaves out all of the times you gave it your best, but nothing happened.
You tried a few different ways to get the transaction to go through. Joined a different group, tried a different church, sang a different song. You mustered up all of your resolve and woke up early for a whole week to read your devotion book. But still, nothing happened.
The piece we are missing is that God is not a machine. He is the God of relationship. He is an all-knowing God who can see further down the road than you can. He knows that when you are walking into a storm, there will be opportunities for Him to throw you a lifeboat.
The things we do to try and gain favor for ourselves are not altogether bad. There is a right way to go about gaining attention from God. He does not dismiss your efforts to spend time with Him. He is elated when we willingly forgo binge watching another series on Netflix to read His word or spend time in prayer. He hears us when we repeat the same feeble prayers day and night – even if we feel like the prayers are just getting stuck on the ceiling.
I just want to remind you that it’s worth it. It is worth it to keep going. Keep changing the way you swipe the card. Find what works for you. Just don’t be surprised if after a little while of swiping, it feels more natural to use, say, the touch-less option. You’ll feel the rhythm and settle into what works for you to be in communion with God. To tell Him your fears and to praise Him when He answers your prayers. To meditate on His word and trace His presence throughout your life.
It’s frustrating trying to figure it out. It can make you anxious, knowing others are watching you struggling in the checkout line, trying to get it right. But they, too, will have to figure out which way to use the card. And at the end of the day, God is pleased that you’re in the checkout line to begin with and will show you how to use the card He gave you.
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Romans 10:9-10 “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”