As Christians, we can often have preconceived ideas of who God is and how he works. If we do not know how to “rightly divide the word of truth” we will most often misunderstand and misinterpret the scriptures, and therefore misunderstand God himself. We bring our own ideas into what we read and hear. Jesus warns us to “be careful how we hear things.” When we rely on what we think we know about God and his instructions to us, we set ourselves up for failure every time.
We must take care that our devotion is to God himself and not to our own convictions. For example: if God told you to take your promised child to the top of a mountain and slay him/her, chances are you would think “that is not God! God would never work that way!” But, he told Abraham to do it.
What might you think if God asked you to build a giant boat for you and your family, and to gather two of every kind of animal on the earth to get in it? “Oh, and by the way”, says God, “I’m going to make it rain for 40 days and 40 nights and destroy the earth.” You might think that rather bizarre. Chances are you would think “that is not God! God would never work that way!” But he told Noah to do it.
Let’s bring it up a little more close and personal. Do you have preconceived ideas about things God has told you to do and you didn’t do it because you believed “that is not God! God would never work that way!?”
Let’s shift into reverse for a moment. Perhaps you’ve experienced the opposite. Perhaps you have heard God tell you not to do a particular thing and you brushed it off saying, “that is not God! God would never work that way!” Here’s an example: many years ago my husband and I were involved in many ministries within our church. We were youth group leaders, we counseled married couples, we hosted a weekly praise service; we hosted a weekly bible study. We were “stand on our heads busy” for a couple of years. One day God spoke to me. He simply said, “you are doing so much for me that you are doing nothing with me.” Here’s my point, all of the things we were doing were good and Godly things. One wouldn’t think that God would tell someone to stop doing them. Yet, my heart was so convicted by what he said that there was no doubt about what he was telling me.
For the last couple of days the Lord has been bringing a scripture to my mind repeatedly. In Galatians 1:16b Paul said, “my immediate response was not to consult any human being.” “Any human being” includes himself. Too often we do the very thing Paul is talking about here. We confer with our own flesh. We doubt God’s word, and in our own self-righteousness we question, and even rationalize what God is saying. If what he says to us goes against our preconceived ideas about who God is and how he works, we dismiss him with “that is not God! God would never work that way!”
This my beloved brethren, is nothing less than what Paul talks about in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4. “That man of sin must be revealed. We must never exalt ourselves above all that is called God, or sit in the temple of God, showing ourselves that we are God.”