We seek out alternatives, trying to please both God and ourselves. Instead of the original desire we try to choose something else we think God will be more willing to give us.
This isn’t wrestling. This is haggling with God.
When we try to pull out an alternative we treat God like one of the potential customers on our trip to becoming the top sales person of a company. The company is called pride and the only product we sell is our self. Our slogan: pretty sure we got this, our return policy: we were really sure, sorry.
We come up to God with self in hand and begin to haggle not for our salvation or sanctification but for our created need. What does that mean?
It means there may very well be a real need motivating whatever we are asking for, but it has been altered in some way. We took the need one step further, molded it in some way as to be created specifically for us. Like children saying they’re hungry but arguing the only thing they will eat is cake. We do the same thing. God I need work/relationship/X and the only the only thing I will accept is this right here, so what do I need to do to make this happen?
God looks at us, it doesn’t work like that.
Oh, so you’re going to be a hard-sell are ya? Well how about I throw in super-devoted devotions for about a week and a half? Or I’ll add this episode to my testimony, think of how many people you will save by helping me!
Can you see the arrogance? Are you beginning to see everything the person in our example (which is, admittedly, what I sound like at times) is not seeing – that is, everything but their self? Everything outside of their narrow desire? Do you understand how the salesman approach towards our desires completely ignores God’s desire?
When we approach God like this it is about as effective at building our relationship with him as a cold-call from a lettuce factory would be at converting us to vegetarians.
There is nothing you have that God wants, nothing you could give that could tempt him off his plan. When he sent Jesus to live and die, when he made prayer possible, when he commissioned the Holy Spirit with being our helper – he didn’t do these things to get something from us, he did them simply to get us. He wants me. He wants you. Plain and simple. No haggling.
Have you ever tried to haggle with God? How did it turn out?