Stretching Out My Too-Small-Pants
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. Revelation 22:18-19
I have a pair of pants that I really like. I must have gained weight after I purchased them though, because every time I put them on I must stretch them out. Even after going through all sorts of gyrations and squatting, they’re still a little too snug for comfort. The obvious solution for my too-small-pants problem would be to lose weight. That’s a lot of work though, and it doesn’t solve my problem today. So, rather than changing me to fit the too-small-pants, I try to change the too-small-pants to fit my too-large-body.
I’ve done this with my faith as well. I can clearly remember times in life where I succumbed to a theology that said, God just wants me to be happy. In those moments, I’ve always tried to justify a behavior that I knew to be wrong but which I wanted anyway. To ease my conscience, I attempted to convince myself that what I wanted was what God wanted too. It’s a terrible theology, but I either had to change myself, sacrificing my will, or change my beliefs. Rather than altering my behavior for what I knew to be right, I simply manipulated my beliefs about right and wrong to fit my behavior.
This is a temptation for anyone who believes in the Bible. Being a book of life instruction, at some point, it’s inevitably going to conflict with how we see the world. We want to believe God is on our side though, and so, instead of changing our lives to fit his will, we try and manipulate him to fit ours. If we’re politically conservative, we may cling to the passage that says, If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10). We can build an entire political theology around that verse, ignoring all the other passages that teach us to help the poor. The temptation for all of us, is to try and make God fit into our will instead of changing ourselves to fit into his.
Faith however, is about our continual transformation. If we want to become who we’re made to be, then daily, we must look to God and his will, asking what it is about us that must change. Then, we must daily do what it takes to change. God doesn’t transform to fit us. We must continually transform to fit him.