Monday, November 09, 2009

The Lie That Twists - "God Is Reluctant To Give"

(People ask questions of me and make comments all the time, and this one comes from a friend who agreed to let me post it. My response follows her question.)

Hey Ralph,

Did you see this urban legend about the new dollar not having "In God We Trust" on it? It is a false accusation, as the Snopes website chronicles, but the initial email still gets me rolling my eyes. If you read below the mass email, it says if we don't have "In God We Trust" on our money, then "God will turn his face from us." What is that?! It seems insidious at so many levels. It is those kind of comments that not only manipulate Christians into feeling their salvation is based on their own militancy, but it also makes non Christians think, "There goes those right wing extreme fundamental Christians again."

I suppose a Bible reader could argue that our money is actually "Caesars" and we should not expect it to have God's name on it, and someone with a bit of humor might wonder if God isn't just a little insulted to be associated so closely to our cultures most worshipped god of all - money.

What do you think?

(My response is below.)
Brilliant! Much of western Christianity (and a type being sold in Russia and in Asia) asserts that to get what you want, you have to get God to give it up. Think what one could put in the "here's how" part of the equation! So, at the foundation is a terrible error, one that motivates everything else: we don't believe that God has given us absolutely everything for entirely nothing in Christ. We're seduced into believing we have to earn more than the everything we've already been given, and that twists Christians into militant and vigilant, nervous and anxious images of God.

I think that lie, that God is withholding something desirable from us, is the same one the serpent seduced Eve with in the Garden. God is reluctant to give, God is withholding something good from you, but if you'll just do this, you can get it. . .and, heck, He may even want you to get it after all. Does that make sense? So, from that day to this, you can see that lie—God is withholding something good from you—running through history, and running through our bookstores and churches today, twisting us now as it did then.

When I see its' effects, it makes me angry, too. However, I am mostly angry at the liar, the one who sold the lie the first time and who sells it today. It's robbing us and mutating us into rich beggars around God's throne. Think of it. Think of the affront to God that is. It makes elder brothers out of us, slaving away out in the fields away from Dad, working and working for what we already have. And if we work for what we already have, we never get it. And if we're busy in the field working—after all, it's most important—then we don't get to be with dad very much.

A favorite author of mine, Malcolm Smith, put it something like this: "If I walked up to one of you seated here today and told you, "Sit down, man, sit down!" you would either think I was weird in my command, or you'd be miserable trying to be what you already are." That's how it is when we tell Christians how to earn the anointing or get God's promises or favor or national blessing. Everything is entirely ours in Christ already! Strive no more! It's His gift to us. (Except for that little national blessing thingy. I don't think God looks to give us such a thing. But then, that's just my opinion.)

That's the magnificent gospel! And that's the target of the devil. I'm delighted that you're not buying the lie, perhaps even more so because you're seeing the ugly twist.

Well done.


  1. Janice Armstrong Roberts6:54 AM


  2. Cindi Estep6:57 AM

    Many seeking His hand instead of His face which is Jesus Christ! To be complete and content in Him alone! My heart's desire! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Nancy Gilmore6:58 AM

    When we have a scattered outlook it’s difficult to see total truth; it’s the same when we have a two-power outlook, or think of ourselves as “independent-I”. I was brought up, (so to speak), with some tough old missionaries who saw nothing, but God, be it man or devil! This had also been my previous training by the Spirit knowing Christ as my CENTER; but God was about to ‘develop’ how to USE everything as my ‘springboard’ to faith; even evil. I was about to learn how to put the word ‘means’ into my springboard; then take my leap of faith. I had to say, God you mean this! No matter what it was; even, evil to be EVIL! I had to say God you are using THIS to work together for good WHERE THERE IS FAITH TOWARD YOU! I had THIS faith toward CHRIST and the know-how to be developed. I was already doing this very thing on the first two levels of my understanding as recorded in 1st John 2:12-17; (little children, and young men); but FAITH had to take over in MUCH bigger ways when it came to the fatherhood level of being a co-intercessor with God for others. I had already come into this fatherhood level of understanding when Norman Grubb came into my life, and he was very effective in confirming this understanding in me. He had walked this way of faith with the works of God following him AROUND THE WORLD most of his life! And Norman introduced me to his ‘tough forerunner of faith', C. T. Studd through the stories he told. I heard these stories first hand. Norman was for me as walking with Moses. Moses knew the ‘ways’ of God and so did Norman. I knew some of God’s ways and His ways were about to be expanded for me when I met Norman in 1975. God has continued to prove again, and again we need to SEE ONLY GOD, and put faith toward Him to work by whatever hits us where we are.

  4. Ron Williams6:59 AM

    I often think that in this "consumer society," many believers adopt a consumer mentality regarding God. And when we make God a commodity to satisfy our hedonism, He ceases to be God, making us the center of our faith and our desire to manipulate and control. Then it becomes greed rather than grace, demonic rather than divine. Could such a spirit match the trinity of humanism -- 666?

  5. Jeff Budkowski6:59 AM

    For years I sat under the teaching of God's permissable vs. perfect will. Under his permissable, it was taught that he still loved you but withheld certain blessings until you got back into his perfect will. And this is beamed all over the world. At this particular church, I felt as if I was in the caboose of the train going towards God's perfect will for my life (and more like hanging on with my feet dragging on the rails).

    Thank God for his magnificant (and often non televised) gospel!

  6. John Zulauf10:37 AM

    This is one the best things you've ever written. It needs to be shouted again and again lest the saints be robbed of the understanding of how good, how loving, how gracious a Savior we have.

    "His divine power has given" *past tense* "us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness." 2 Peter 1:3

    We already have, given to us based on His calling of us. We did not earn it, can not improve it, and will not add to it by any amount of works, bargaining, or striving.

    What do we have (i.e. what is ours?) "everything we need for life and godliness." What would that leave out? Logically speaking that would be the opposite -- "death and ungodliness." Anybody think we should ask for that or that God should give it to us if we just begged a bit more?

    Are we to come boldy (Heb 4:16), to "ask, seek, knock" (Matt 7:7) -- yes, but we must never forget, never doubt how much the heavenly Father is more willing than any earthly caregiver to "give us good gifts".

  7. Anonymous12:39 AM

    Thank you John Zulauf for the scripture reminder: "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness." 2 Peter 1:3

    Everything? Yes, everything!