I talk about Frankenstein’s monster a lot here (apparently), but imagine with me for a second: You’ve created something. It’s your masterpiece, a work of art. You’ve made it for a specific purpose – to accomplish a goal. You’re energized by the idea that this thing that has never existed before has come to be – and you’re ready to see what you can do through it.
You bellow in amazement, “It’s alive… It’s ALIVE!”
But two days into this experiment of yours, your creation decides to go off-script. It doesn’t like the purpose you created for it. It doesn’t want it. Instead of serving you, it’s decided to serve itself. Instead of living in gratitude for you – for the sacrifices you made to create it – all it wants is to worship itself. Actually, your creation goes a bit further. Not only does it want to worship itself, but it also wants you to worship it too.
You are taken aback by the audacity of this creation of yours. It was bad enough that it chose to disobey and do something contrary to your purpose – but now it’s insisting that you do whatever it wants? Doesn’t it know that it was just created yesterday, and has finite knowledge of the world around it? What makes it think that it can possibly comprehend what is truly going on in its life?*
This is Where We Get Things Twisted
When I fell away from God, it wasn’t because I believed He didn’t exist. In fact, no matter how far away I got from Him, I knew He was there. I fell away from God because, despite what I’d have said at the time, I believed His true purpose was to serve me.
I either stopped caring about what the Word of God actually said, or I didn’t know enough because I wasn’t being fed by the Word. Instead, I thought God should do what I wanted because I was “serving Him.”
After all, if I profess to be a Christian who worships God and I try to live my life in a way that follows His Word, He owes me – right?
He should give me what I want and act (in a way that other “so-called” believers have said) like a blue genie from Aladdin. But instead of getting three wishes, we can have whatever we want, as long as we come under the guise of obedience to Him.
There Are No Guarantees You’ll Like
When it comes to serving God, there are no guarantees. People act like once you become a Christian, you’re life is going to suddenly become easy. That’s not true – you have God there with you and you feel His presence in Your life through His word, but you are not immune to pain.
Right after Jesus gives the Beatitude, He gives commands to believers about how they ought to live, He says that we should bless those who persecute us so that we will be like our father, “for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:45)
There are no guarantees that you’ll never feel pain again, or that your life will be somehow carefree and easy-peasy now. In fact, there are guarantees to the contrary:
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
In fact, in the same chapter as the one above, Jesus says:
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)
Jesus promises that we will have trouble if we follow Him. It was never about giving us a life of ease, it was about growing us in holiness so we could be more like Him.
You remember Jesus, right? The one who:
- Had 12 disciples, one of which would betray Him to death and sell Him for the price of a slave
- Was raised in a family where no one understood Him, and where His own brothers didn’t believe that He could be who He said He was
- Traded all the riches and glory of Heaven for a lowly birth in a cattle stall, born to parents who had practically nothing
- Had to be snuck out of the country by His parents as an infant because a bloodthirsty king felt threatened by His birth
- Had to hear the whispers of the townspeople who didn’t believe Mary’s account of what had happened to her, thinking she’d committed adultery and Joseph was a fool to have married her
- Hung out with tax collectors, prostitutes, and sinners, and got to hear whispers and disrespect from everyone around Him
- Created the world and all that was in it, only for people to think of him as nothing because He wasn’t born with social status
- Upset spiritual leaders because He was unwilling to compromise about the truth
- (I could go on, but there’s already a book about Him – look it up if you haven’t read it yet)
Are You Ready for the Answer?
What does God owe me? He owes me nothing. He is the Creator, I am His created being. He doesn’t owe me safety, wealth, health, or happiness. He never promised we’d have easy lives.
Despite the fact that He owes us nothing, He is generous to us beyond measure. He provided a way out of our own sinful condition in Christ. He granted us forgiveness if we come to the cross in repentance. He never owed it to us, but He generously lavishes His mercy and grace on us.
And sometimes, He chooses to do even more. He chooses to delight in giving us the desires of our hearts (when our desires are in line with His). He sees fit to bless us with families, good health, a measure of prosperity… but He owes us none of this. If “all” God ever did for us was to sacrifice His Son to save us from our sin, that would be more than enough.
*This is not scriptural – this is my take on how I’d react if I were in the same position as God – with a creation that rebels and decides to pursue a purpose other than the one I intended for them. God was not surprised at the fall – in fact, He’d already been making provisions for Jesus to come and reconcile man to the world.
Nor is the account of the creation accurate. God made things out of nothing – whereas the best we can do as a reflection of him is to make things out of some element of what He was already created. Yes, we can make chalks and pastels, but the pigments are gathered from what is already in God’s creation. Even the knowledge we have to create comes from the Creator.