You've Been Lied to Part 2 - God Needs You to Challenge Him

It wasn't all that long ago that I was a pretty healthy and durable young buck. Okay, it was actually more than just a little while ago, but there was a time when I thought I could take on - and defeat - anything the world threw my way. Since I was little on the shorter side (the masculine word for petite) I tried very hard to compensate for my lack of size. I did not possess an inferiority complex, I just wanted to make sure that no one underestimated me.

Whenever I think about times in the past when I "proved" to others just how capable I was, one incident always stands out in my mind. My freshmen your in high school I had the dubious distinction of being the youngest of three boys at the same school. As a result, I was always the little brother, my identity suddenly expunged from being an original. To top it off, I was born with a heart defect that caused an across the board reaction in my doctors when it came to sports - "No way!" they said. So, not only was I the little brother but I also couldn't compete in the athletic arena with all of my friends.

Do you think I sat around and did nothing? Psshhh! I refused to remain inactive, choosing instead to be a backyard pentathlete (football, basketball, baseball, soccer, tag, etc.) and I lifted those amazingly cool plastic-coated concrete weights in the garage. The doctors may have limited my formal participation in sports but as far as I was concerned everything else was fair game. Since both of my brothers played soccer on the high school team, I volunteered to be the soccer manager so that I could be close to the action (manager = glorified ball boy). I was there at every practice and sat on or near the bench for every game. I thought I was so cool!

One day during a home game I was hanging out around the bench with a bunch of other kids from the high school. Since my oldest brother was a senior, I had gotten to know a lot of his friends and they treated me better than most freshmen. I'm not sure what precipitated it but one of the senior guys - who also happened to play football and weigh in excess of 200 pounds - decided to playfully wrestle with me. Before he knew what happened, I had lifted him off of his feet and over my shoulder. There I was, all 125 pounds of puny freshmen hoisting a high school jock on my back. Go ahead and challenge me if you want to see what I can do!

I got over my "me vs. the world" complex fairly quickly, realizing that I didn't need to challenge people just to prove a point. The same can be said of God. God is God. He doesn't need to be anything or anyone other than who He is. He has nothing to prove to us. But that's not what the world would have us believe.

Let's go back to Jesus again. There He is, sweating, hungry, and thirsty in the desert. Satan has failed to convince Him - and us - that we don't really need God so now he goes into the second wave of his attack. He is trying to convince Jesus and us that we need to challenge God in order for Him to follow through for us.
Then the Devil took Him to the holy city, had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and he said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: He will give His angels orders concerning you, and they will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. Jesus told him, "It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God." (Matthew 4:5-7)
When it comes to our enemy Satan, originality isn't his strong point yet he sticks with what he knows will work. He starts with that same old line he used earlier: If You are the Son of God... Satan's strategy is always the same - he lives to drive a wedge between us and God, sowing the seeds of doubt, discouragement, and discontentment along the way.

This time with Jesus, Satan used a slightly different ploy in his quest. Instead of declaring that Jesus didn't need God, Satan admitted that He did. And he told Jesus that He needed God so badly that, unless He challenged God to step up to the plate and help Him, then God would not show up at all. God will be there, but only if we encourage Him along.

We've all been there. "God, if you will just do ___________ for me, then I promise I'll __________." We challenge God to deliver, believing that if we don't then He will be left out in the dark and we'll be on our own. In these circumstances we understand that we need God, but the temptation is to convince Him that He actually needs to show up, as if He's some absentee father whose ex-wife calls him at the last minute to remind him of their son's birthday.

This is just foolish.

Jesus' answer to Satan reveals just how foolish it is to challenge God in this way. Satan sure looked impressive throwing out Scripture promises, but as the author of those very Scriptures Jesus knew better than to twist the truth. God's word promises His hand upon us and his shield around us. If God has declared it then we don't need to test Him with what He has already promised to be true. Do not test the Lord your God.

We don't need to proposition God with His own promises. Who in the world do we think we are?

The world will tempt you to challenge God when things don't seem to be going your way. "Where is your God now? How could He let something like this happen?" These questions are asked as if God is lost somewhere in another time continuum, oblivious to the current circumstances in our world. Yet nothing could be farther from the truth.

We don't need to test God. He doesn't need us to rate Him He doesn't need our approval. His promises are true for both now and into eternity. God isn't looking for us to challenge Him. Rather, His desire is that we trust and obey Him alone, for He alone is worthy of our all.


 

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