You Are Not God

Ouch.

Let me say it again just for the sting:

You. Are. Not. God.

Okay, deep breath here. I know it hurts now, but you’re going to be fine.

What am I talking about, you ask? Like, duh, you know you’re not God.

But . . . do you? Do any of us?

I’m currently writing a devotional for high school students, and one thing I continually find myself reminding them (and me) is that they (and I) are not God.

The world would disagree, of course.

“Do what makes you happy!”

Even if that happiness goes against what God commands.

“Don’t listen to anyone else; live for yourself!”

Even if living for yourself hurts others, or God Himself. Don’t listen to sage advice! Don’t listen to the people who are kind enough to warn you that you’re going down a wrong path! Do what makes you happy, right here and now.

(And let’s throw in that caveat of “don’t hurt others”–that “others” excluding Jesus Christ–to make ourselves feel better.)

Paul, as usual, sums it up best:

“Everything is permissible for me”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”–but I will not be mastered by anything.

– 1 Corinthians 6:12

This idea is so important him that he repeats it later in the same letter:

“Everything is permissible”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

– 1 Corinthians 10:23-24

The truth of the matter is that we cannot be good to others while we live for ourselves. Selflessness comes from God and God alone. When you’re living how you want–aka, living like you’re God–you can absolutely not ever please anyone but yourself. That’s sinful nature in a nutshell.

You’re living like you’re God. Right now. Yes, you are. You’re living like the world revolves around you. You justify things and make excuses and ignore the precious commands God has given you.

This is sin. Christian or not, we’re all guilty of it, and we deserve death because silly little us wanted to play god for, well, for all our lives.

Theoretically, we can do whatever we want. But is it good for us? Is it good for others? Is it obeying God?

We’re creation, not Creator. To talk back to God and act like we know better is not only outright blasphemy, but plain idiotic:

But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?'”

– Romans 9:20

And for some reason we all still act like God.

At my church right now, our pastor just wrapped up a series on Jonah. He has made it clear time and again that “We are all Jonah!” We run from God. We refuse to seek Him. We become stubborn and hard-hearted. We do what we want instead of following God.

We act like we know better.

Think of it like an elementary-age child who just learned what an atom is going up to a quantum physicist and saying that he knows everything he needs to know about the that field of study now. This kid believes he is smart and intelligent enough to do a scientist’s work.

If you saw something like that take place, you’d probably laugh into the back of your hand, perhaps with a sympathetic smile. “Poor thing. He’s kinda cute, thinking he knows so much.”

That’s us, but on an infinitely larger scale.

I imagine that the Trinity is one of the smaller mysteries of God. I mean, it’s simple enough that He allowed us to know about it. But if we can’t even grasp the reality of the triune Godhead, what chance do we have at understanding the things we don’t know about?

And believe me, there’s plenty we don’t know about.

Your wisdom and knowledge is finite, but with that finite knowledge, you think you can take on God’s infinite power.

We all think this. We all live like this. We all want to be God, and the way we live our lives actively reflects that.

You don’t get to decide what “righteous anger” is.

You are not God!

You don’t get to be full of pride for the accomplishments that came about only because God gave you those skills.

You are not God!

You don’t get to cast judgement on someone, saying whether or not they’re going to hell, when you can’t truly know their heart.

You are not God!

You don’t get to say that you know what’s best for your body.

You are not God!

You don’t get to define love.

You are not God!

You don’t get to decide what is and isn’t a sin.

You are not God!

You don’t get to hold your life in clenched fists, never letting go of the control you so desperately crave.

You are not God!

You are not God.

We see people living like gods every day.

The celebrities that thrive off of idolization and objectification.

The Christians who parade around and condemn people without ever looking inward, at their own hearts.

The homosexual and sexual liberation movements that take pride in their sin and actively reprove anyone who doesn’t agree with their stance.

Teens who reject the wisdom of their elders.

Scientists who bend the facts to fit their godless worldview.

Workers who slack off and forget that they are not only serving their bosses, but the Lord.

All of us do this, myself included.

I know for me, I’ve got a problem with control. If it’s outside of my control, I stress out. I worry. I get mad.

I’m playing god.

There’s a Guy up there who’s got everything under control. But I always want to lean over and say, “You know what, God, there’s a rough patch ahead, and I think I should handle it.” As if He–you know, the One who created the stars and numbered the hairs on my head–can’t.

We all do this. We’ve all played god. We’ve all pretended that sin is not sin. We conveniently forget that pride, sexual immorality, greed, lust, anger, gossip, envy, and deceit (in any form) are all sins.

You can probably think of people in your life playing god.

But so are you.

All of us. Pretty much constantly.

So is there no hope?

Look, we’re never going to get this 100% correct. But that’s the awesome thing: God doesn’t expect us to. Like we might do with the kid who thinks he can be a rocket scientist with his minimal knowledge, God will nudge us and say, “This is too much for you.”

Christians listen to Him. It’s what sets us apart from the rest of the world.

Yeah, okay, so we might brush God off and try again to do what we want. But because of the Holy Spirit in us, He’ll constantly be there with the whisper, “Hey, I’m God, remember?”

If you’re truly striving to live for God, this will get easier and easier. Sin will still be there, but you’ll learn to abhor it.

God’s got this. He is God, and the more you look at Him as such, the less you’ll do so to yourself. You’ll begin to turn your focus away from your own desires and onto the desires of others and, most importantly, the desires of God.

This is hard. It’s pretty much impossible, and as I said, we’ll never get it 100% in this lifetime. Sin is all around us, and the world encourages us to do what we want and then be proud (a sin) of the way we’ve hurt God. Don’t be deceived: Sin hurts God.

Yet, even when we hurt Him, He comes right back to pick us up, help us shake it off, and teach us how to live like He is God . . . which He is.

We all need this. Every day. All the time.

When you find yourself drifting and worshiping yourself instead of serving others and the Lord, remember that you are not God.

When you want to take control and micromanage your own life so it all goes how you want, remember that you are not God.

When you are tempted to redefine what you know is a sin by saying you’ve already been saved, making excuses, or calling your sin “love,” remember that you are not God. (Who, by the way, is the very definition of love. [1 John 4:8])

Say it with me now:

“I am not God. God is God, and He knows best. My pride, my anger, my selfishness, my sin are not okay. They lead to destruction. They won’t make me happy, not in the end. God gives mercy, peace, love, and joy. God is in control. I am not God, and I am eternally grateful for that.”

You hear that, world?

I am not God!

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