In our church fellowship group we've been studying the book of Genesis. We have an excellent teacher who delves deeply into each verse and chapter, helping us glean the absolute most information possible. He routinely asks how we can apply what we are learning about the Old Testament characters to our own life.
For the past several weeks (well, ok - probably months) we've been studying the life of Abraham. Abraham made a lot of stupid mistakes, but regardless of those mistakes, he was still a great man of God! He never doubted the Lord's faithfulness, but sometimes he thought he needed to give God a "leg up". Let's look at a quick recap of part of Abraham's life....
Starting in Genesis 12, God slowly begins to reveal His plan for Abraham. He continues to reveals little pieces of the big picture through Abraham's life but, as God often does, He takes His time. In chapter 15 God reveals to Abraham that his seed will bring forth a son who will make Abraham the father of multitudes. Then God chooses to be silent. While Abraham is waiting out in left field, his wife Sarah continues to grow older and older. When she sees that she is no longer able to bear children, she suggests that Abraham marry her servant. (While this was a normal practice of the day, this was still unacceptable in God's sight). Abraham, being the sissy that he is, agrees with his wife and takes her servant to be his 2nd wife. Hagar, the servant, conceives and gives Abraham a son, Ishmael.
Problem solved, right? Wrong. God did not instruct Abraham to sin in order to fulfill His plan. He is God Almighty! He can (and does) do the impossible! Abraham took things into his own hands instead of allowing God to work in His timing for His perfect result.
Of course, God did eventually open Sarah's womb and she did bear a son, Isaac, who was the promised son all along.
Abraham didn't ruin God's plan since God's plans cannot be thwarted, but he sure did cause a big mess! (Look at the Arabs vs the Jews TO THIS DAY!)
Oftentimes we as Christians feel that we too must sin to complete God's plan for our life. We run ahead of God, all the while screaming "You're taking too long!" or "I have a better way!"
God is not honored when you speed to get to church on time. Sure, you probably should have planned better in order to get to church on time, but breaking the law on the way there is not going to honor the Lord and is certainly not going to benefit your spiritual growth (which is God's plan for all of us.) You do not need to sin for His plan to succeed.
God is not impressed when you go into debt to purchase that brand new car you just had to get in order to get to and from your workplace (instead of using that money to tithe as He has called you to do). You sin when you frivolously spend that hard-earned money (one of the many resources God has given you to bring him glory) on something that will rust and die rather than investing in the souls of people. God will provide for you as He has promised. You do not need to sin for His plan to succeed.
God does not receive joy when you fail to discipline your children just because you think it will damage their precious self-esteem (i.e. ego) or because you are too lazy to follow through with what you have said. (Yes, that's right - NOT disciplining your children is a sin. See the book of Proverbs.) God's plan for your children is for their sanctification (spiritual growth) just as much as He desires that for you. By failing to discipline them, you are setting them up for a life of disaster. You are NOT doing them a favor. You do not need to sin for His plan to succeed.
Are you seeing a pattern here? Let's take a step back this week and examine our lives. Are there areas where we have run ahead of God and taken charge? I encourage you to look at your life from God's perspective this week and see who's ahead in the game.