Monday, May 14, 2012

Changing Your Mind

Some days you tell the world that you aren't going to buy an iPad.
You tell them you've made a grown up decision.

And then on other days you go and buy one anyway.

Circumstances change.

Situations present themselves.

And sometimes you reevaluate your decisions, deciding instead to take a different course of action, thanks to new knowledge, a different perspective, an unexpected surprise or simply more time to have thought it over.

I don't take back anything I said about sacrificing certain things for the sake of Kingdom building. I meant that, and I still do. I am willing, but I realized that I wasn't making that decision because of wisdom or spiritual guidance.

I was making the decision out of fear. Fear that I could slip up at any turn and God would cease to show favor to me. That if I do the wrong thing, or buy the wrong thing, now, then he won't provide for me in the future...I imagined a situation in which, needing provision, I pray to God, asking for what is needed...and him answering back in an unmistakable clarity - "I already provided for you, and you spent it on an iPad...Sorry, I won't be using you after all. You've been unfaithful."

But again, that's just not how he works. 

The Bible says that God is like a father who loves to give good gifts to his children. If his children are in need, he provides for them. If he sees an opportunity for one of his children, which he knows will be good for them and good for the family, he does whatever he can to help them take advantage of that opportunity. It's not like any good father would ever say to his children, "I know you're hungry, but I gave you plenty of food yesterday, and you didn't finish your dinner...Sorry, I won't be feeding you today. You've been too wasteful."

That would never happen!

God promises to provide for our needs. Jesus says, "Seek first the Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Mt. 6:33). It's important to take a moment and realize what Jesus is not saying here.

He is not saying that if you have enough faith, God will give you material wealth and prosperity.

He is not saying that you can ask God for whatever you want and he will automatically give it to you.

Many people think that when Jesus says "all these things" he means "whatever things you want", but that's not it at all. In order to understand what Jesus meant by "all these things" we need to look back to the previous verses, ideally reading the sentence in the context of the surrounding chapter(s), realizing that this is one small portion of a larger sermon, spanning three chapters. Jesus is encouraging his hearers not to worry about the food they will eat that day or the clothes they will wear next week. He tells them that God knows their needs, and cares for them. He will provide.

In essence, what Jesus is saying in verse 33 is, "you take care of my business, and I'll take care of yours."

So how does any of this relate to my new iPad? Because it might sound as if I'm implying that buying the iPad was an unwise decision, that I'm just counting on God to forgive me for. It could sound as if, I think that I can spend my money however I want, now, taking advantage of God's faithful promise of provision...

I'm not.

I don't think buying the iPad was wrong on my part...or even unwise. I've wrestled with this decision on and off for the better part of six months. I thought a lot about it...perhaps even too much.

The correlation is this - God says that he knows the plans he has for me (Jer. 32:11). He says that if I seek his Kingdom and his righteousness, that he will take care of my needs. It would be unfaithful for me to hoard his provision now, for fear that he may not provide for my 
future needs as I perceive them. 

Certain things happened this week, which caused me to see my circumstances differently. I prayed about my decision, sought wise counsel, received the blessing of my spouse...

...and I changed my mind.

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