The Goodness of God
This point keeps coming up recently:
We sin because we don't really believe that God is good.
Last weekend I was at a staff training seminar for CCO where Tim Geiger, who works for Harvest USA, was speaking. His focus was sexual sin (and holiness), and he was talking about how sin -- any sin -- is based in a desire for something that's good. The problem is that we move this from being a good desire into being an ultimate end, something we're determined to get at any cost.
Tim Keller made this same point very well in Counterfeit Gods.
And I was discussing this last night with ZhongguoTim [okay, I realize that I have now talked about three Tims in a row. Not sure why that's how it happened, but there it is]. I know that this is where sin comes from -- that
each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:14-15) --
but I need to keep hearing it. It's easy to justify my behaviors and find acceptable behaviors that are still motivated by sin. We talked about grades, about building relationships with people. Are these motivated by desires to glorify God? Or to feel in control?
James gives us the antidote for this poisonous inclination in the next few verses.
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:16-17)
If we believe that everything good comes from God, then we will trust Him.
We talked about this again today in my Environmental Ethics class, when we were discussing how God had decreed that Israel give the land a rest every seven years. How hard would that have been to obey? I would have thought, Are You crazy? I'll starve! My teacher summed it up well. "We think that if we obey God, bad things will happen."
Yep. There's the heart of the lie we believe.
So instead... we have to let go of trusting in ourselves and cling to the risky belief that God is trustworthy, that He is good. That He is omniscient and does know all of our circumstances. That He's omnipotent and has the power to work all things for good. That He's omnipresent and is with us in everything, is working in everything.
And mostly that He is all good, and that He desires good for His children.
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