I believe the words which leave the mouths of our children are sometimes more profound than the wisest of men.
Recently our family was in the car and my daughter began asking a series of questions, which has actually been her latest ongoing “thing”.
“Do giraffes die?”
“Do elephants die”
“Daddy, do birds die?”
“What do you think baby?”
“I think they do.”
“Why do animals die, baby?”
“Because of sin.”
“That’s right baby, sin made things broken. As people, we all sin, and we all die.”
“I do not like sin…but I think I do like it…”
I must admit that ad-libbed Christian parenting can be particularly difficult at times, but this response teed me up for being able to remind her why we need Jesus. But even after that, her response haunted me because of the profound truth in it, and because it reflected a little bit of my own heart.
“I do not like sin…but I think I do like it…”
Isn’t this us?
I don’t mean as rescued, redeemed, dragged into the light of Christ, children of God who have been made whole and complete in Jesus, that we chase after sin with all of our might; but even for us who know God deeply and love and cherish Him, we still have sin tendencies which so easily ensnare and entangle us. We still must die daily to our sin and be reminded of the new identity we have been given in Jesus Christ. Sometimes those sin tendencies lay so deep and in such darkness, that it’s only when God works in our hearts in those specific places they are revealed to us.
In Luke 15, Jesus begins telling a parable about a father with two sons.
“And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living.” Luke 15:11-13
If you know the story, you know how the rest goes. If you don’t know it, I encourage you to go read it. However, we’re just going to stop here. Do you see anything wrong with this story so far?
The story doesn’t go into great detail here, but it seems as if this request by the son is being made before the appropriate time. The father had obviously planned to give what he had to his sons, but most likely not at this time.
A father who has planned something wonderful for his child, to give them a portion of what he has, when the time is right.
A son who is impatient, who knows what his father has, who wants things his way, and who demands it of his father at the time he thinks is right.
Does this sound like us?
How often do we run to God and demand He deliver what we know he has, on our terms and on our time? How many times have our prayers been fueled by what we think is right, instead of humbly submitting to what God thinks is right? When the luster of some new idea or plan creeps into our heads and we can’t wait to run forward in self-sufficiency, we would do well to remember the young son in this story and humbly seek God’s plan and desire for our lives on a timeline that may not be what we planned, but is altogether far more perfect than we could ever imagine.
When we demand of God what we know is His, which is everything, on our terms, we are revealing the sinful and selfish nature of hearts.
This tendency to fall back on self-sufficiency is often so subtle that it pervades our actions and hearts often without us knowing it. And even knowing God is good, holds everything in His hands, and gives us what we need when we need it, is often not enough to keep us from wrapping our hands tightly around what we want and going for it with all of our might, even demanding it from Him at times.
“I don’t like sin…but I think I do like it…”
What we fail to see is that Christ has come so that we may rely on God and rely on Him fully, so that we may live lives of freedom and lives untangled from the sinful desire to chase after what we think is right.
Paul reminds us in Galatians that “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1) Christ has come so that we don’t have to live lives of self-sufficiency, so that we may live completely free from the desire that runs in us of utter self-sufficiency and so we may step into the freedom that relying on Christ offers us.
Paul also reminds us that “…God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) This is perhaps the truth we need to cling to most dearly when we desire whatever thing it is so badly that we are willing to demand it of God. God has a time planned, a place planned, and moment planned, in which he will provide for us what is right for us, we need not demand it of Him.
Christ Jesus is the means by which God provides for us everything He has.
It’s because of Jesus we can walk away from the sin which entangles us and causes us to demand our way with God.
It’s because of Jesus we can do this, knowing that whatever God has for us will be the true thing which is best for us.
It’s because of Jesus that making this decision will, and does, provide us joy, even if we don’t get that which we desired so badly.
Though we do not like sin, but sometimes so easily find ourselves liking it, Christ is our freedom and our provision.
Jesus Christ truly is ALL.