God and Lucky Charms
Her prophets are fickle, treacherous men; her priests profane what is holy; they do violence to the law. Zephaniah 3:4
I heard this line the other day. God put this desire in my heart. I won’t go into details, but I was pretty sure this desire came, not from God, but from this individual’s fallen nature. Call me judgmental, but anyone who heard the story would immediately recognize the fallacy of insisting this self-destructive behavior was God-given.
I’ve done this though. In my drug use, I argued that sleeping well made me a better physician. These pills are a gift from God. When I tried to stop, God insisted that I confess and go to treatment, but I decided that true faith meant doing nothing except praying for change. I did what I wanted, and tried to pour God on it. I carried God like a lucky charm, hoping to bless my bad decisions.
This is a temptation most Christian’s face. We see the world in some twisted way or we want something questionable, so we go to the Bible for justification. Jesus turned water into wine, so wine cannot be bad. I can’t deny something Christ made, right?
It’s usually obvious when someone else does it, but it’s far subtler in our own lives. We say, I will take God with me wherever I go. When what we should be saying is, I will go wherever God takes me. This subtle difference is the difference between self-interest and authentic faith. One twists God for its own purpose, while the other simply follows God.
This manipulation is what Zephaniah condemned the priests of Judah for in today’s passage. These men claimed to follow God, while following themselves, calling it God’s will. Trust us. We’re priests. We know what God wants.
God though, is no lucky charm and he doesn’t assist us in our destructive behavior. He doesn’t hope that we follow our toxic desires so that we can realize our destructive dreams. It’s not that he’s disinterested in our joy. On the contrary, it’s precisely because he’s passionately interested in what’s truly best for us that he wants us to follow his way, instead of using him as a lucky charm, following our own way.