A couple of days ago I facetimed my Abuela (Grandma) and before I go on, I have to give you some context. Abuela lives in Puerto Rico and is 89 years old, she’s been a Christian since she was five. She’s one of those women who will preach to anybody at any time with no shame or fear. When I called her, she was at our family business doing payroll. Yes, you read correctly. She is almost 90, she drives, she runs a business in Puerto Rico and is not afraid of Covid-19. Before you @ me, she was wearing her mask and was socially distanced from our employees. I questioned why she wasn’t at the house, and she quickly reminded me that Covid-19 has nothing on the Holy Spirit inside of her.
The only appropriate response to that is, “Amen Abuela”.
See, her years on this earth and her years in the faith have taught her that her response to everything in life is singular, Jesus. She went on to recite John 8:32 in Spanish, of course:
“y conoceréis la verdad, y la verdad os hará libres.” Juan 8:32
“and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
She’ll never stop teaching me, and in that moment I knew exactly what she was telling me. The entire truth will set me free. Not the passages in the Word that give me the warm and fuzzy feelings but those passages that make my millennial mind uncomfortable. At some point, we all chose to adopt a mentality that truth was relative and that we can all have separate truths. The reality is much more sobering, there is one truth, the one that Jesus talks about. That truth is unbendable, unchangeable, and unwavering. His sovereignty is the foundation of peace, even when His sovereignty doesn’t always make us instantly happy. Isn’t that the most difficult concept for the microwave generation to grasp? We are not entitled to instant gratification. We are not entitled to anything actually. Instead, He calls us to trade our humanistic need for instant gratification for eternal worship to Him. It would behoove us to remember we are His creation, not the other way around. The Trinity does not exist to serve us, it exists to save us from ourselves. In a radical act of selfless love to us, Jesus shed His blood for us. Streams of crimson poured out of Jesus’s side while He bore the sins of humanity so that you and I wouldn’t have to suffer the ultimate consequence of our humanity.
Now, it is that same humanity we have grown to worship and idolize. As if to say “ Jesus, the earthly vessel, my body and mind, are more important than what you died to save, my soul”. I would daresay that Jesus is more concerned with our soul than what pleases us while we are on earth. Before you think that our generation and our country came up with this idea, I invite you to read about God’s chosen people, the Israelites.
In these verses we get to listen in on the Lord giving a message to Jeremiah the prophet, a message that he must deliver to the people of Israel.
‘“But my people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted, following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts. They went backward instead of forward. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Take your burnt offerings and your other sacrifices and eat them yourselves! When I led your ancestors out of Egypt, it was not burnt offerings and sacrifices I wanted from them. This is what I told them: ‘Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well!’ From the day your ancestors left Egypt until now, I have continued to send my servants, the prophets—day in and day out. But my people have not listened to me or even tried to hear. They have been stubborn and sinful—even worse than their ancestors.’ Jeremiah 7:21-26
How frustrated is our God with His chosen people in these verses. And yes, we are living in the times of grace because of Calvary however, we must not forsake the lessons of the Old Testament. Have we chosen to idolize our humanity, do we worship our human needs, wants, desires, and longings more than our God. Have we fooled ourselves into thinking we are absolved because we offer sacrifices like the Israelites did? Brother and sister, let me let you in on a secret, God wants your obedience not your sacrifice. He’s clear in these verses, the “sacrifices” they are making will only satisfy their human needs, not their God.
Here is the concept the Israelites struggled with and so do we, God’s sovereignty is not concerned with your feelings, wants, desires, longings, or what you think is fair. His sovereignty is solely concerned with your soul. Accepting the truth of God’s sovereignty does not mean that He does not want you to be happy, joyful, fulfilled, and content. God’s sovereignty is a constant reminder that we can only find happiness, joy, fulfillment, contentment, and peace if we obediently abide in Him.
We must be hyper aware that we do not covertly strangle our faith by idolizing our humanity and the things of this world and justify it by making statements like:
“I just want to be happy, God wants me to be happy”
“This is my truth, it works for me”
“If that makes you happy, then it’s good for you”
“If that gives you peace, then amen, do it”
“God wants me to have this because it will make me happy, and He wants me to be happy”
“I will be satisfied if/when (fill in the blank)”
I challenge you to reflect on these verses. I know I am. Go to the Lord in prayer and lay it all down. Don’t pretend this doesn’t apply to you, we could all be better at laying down our idols. We all have them, it is a condition of our humanity that can only be solved by intentionally putting God first everyday.
He will not fail us, He sees us, He loves us.