11 December 2013

But I want it!

"Honey, you cannot eat another candy bar" said the child's mother.

"But I want it!" the child screamed in retort.

"It will make your tummy hurt and damage your teeth", mom replied. 

The child reacted with vitriol, "I hate you. You never give me anything I want."

"Sometimes" the mom responded, "you must trust that I know what is best for you, even if you don't like it." 

For anyone familiar with children, you have no doubt encountered a situation similar to this. Perhaps you have been the parent or the child.  In pursuit of pleasure, the child attempts to dominantly assert his will with no thought for consequence. The child is dominated by the thought, "but it makes me feel good and I want it, so let me do it."  The mother, knowing the bigger picture, stands firm on her decision. Reading this story, no one believes the parent actually hates the child; indeed it is a great demonstration of parental love.

The pursuit of immediate pleasure is a dominant theme in modern society.  People reject moral standards, asserting their right to do whatever they want. In many cases, those choices are constitutionally protected. However, the fact that certain behaviors are legal does not mean that they are good or healthy.

People often respond to God like angry toddlers respond to their mothers. God provides a standard, His moral law, among other things to show us the way to live. The reformers called the third use of the law. But we rebel against His design. He tells us that anger is destructive, and we say "so what!  I can do whatever I want!" He tells us that sex was a part of His good design for marriage, but that the many ways we practice it are harmful and we say, "I like the way it feels. You can't tell me what to do!" He tells us that He hates divorce and we say, "I hate you! You never give me anything I want!" He says, love others sacrificially and we say, "but what about what I want and what brings me pleasure?"

God did not provide standards because He is capricious, malicious, or unjust.  Quite the opposite. He designed it all and knows how His cosmos works best, down to every detail of our lives. Just as no one believes the mother above hates her child, we must understand that God does not hate us.  Just as the mother above is not rejecting her child, God is not rejecting us. He desires relationship with each and every one of us and He shows us the way to live, not as a punishment, but as a gift. 

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