Your Savior is King Not Your Opinions
This is Day Two of the Challenge meant to get more Jesus in your life: 5 Days to Destroy Fear, Drudgery, and Despair in 2021.
Did you go through Day One yet? I strongly recommend you do that before going forward.
Letting God of Striving to Earn God’s Love – Day 1 is so important. It is rejoicing in Jesus’ finished work on the Cross that makes the next steps possible. It is your firm foundation. You may be tempted to turn this into another “To Do” list to beat yourself up with otherwise.
Ready to go on? Great, I am proud of you!
Where We Are
We started this journey with the simple questions:
Are you willing to dig deep in yourself to find out why your life does not look like you want it to? Do you want all of the good things you read about in the Bible but don’t seem to experience yourself?
Are you ready to stop playing around in your Christian life?
How is it going so far? Have you figured out the answers?
You are doing great since you made it this far. Many claim they want more peace and joy in their lives. Yet, when it gets to this tough stuff, they turn away and run. It is often easier to do the same old thing then deal with yourself. It takes bravery to go forward. It takes acceptance that God loves you because of His perfect nature not your work. This is hard to swallow. It is life changing, if you get it.
It is the difference between the two Kings, David and Saul. Saul had every opportunity to be a man after God’s own heart like David. He chose to make excuses instead. He took the wide road of avoidance and justifications that leads to destruction rather than deal with his own strongholds.
It is not complicated to follow the Lord. The big steps you take in the Lord are simple. A child can understand following Jesus.
Do what Jesus did.
Love what Jesus loved.
Act like Jesus acted.
Children often get this better than adults do. So why does it seem hard? Why do people turn away or get stuck?
They get stuck in war of wills – theirs against God’s. The truth is you need to follow yourself less in order to follow Jesus more. Straightfoward as it comes, follow Jesus, right? The problem comes in the application. Following Jesus’ way over yours often hurts. It hits you directly in the painful parts – your pride, plans, hopes, and control. It is a fight for the throne of your life. Battles are never pretty. They always have casualties.
The question is simply who do you want to win – you and your will or God and His? This is perhaps nowhere more clearly demonstrated than in the sneaky area of self expression known as opinions.
Serving the Will of Your Master
Opinions are like feet. Everyone has them and many of them stink.
Do you realize your opinions are a major cause of pain in your Christian life? They lead to some of the worst emotions you experience – fear, anxiety, despair, anger, hate, and more. Why is that?
Well, the definition of an opinion is “a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.” Clarification is needed to understand opinions from God’s perspective, though. An opinion for a Christian is “a view, judgment, or conclusion formed about something that is not based on a command of Jesus or clear direction from the Bible.” It something that you may feel strongly about and may reasonably be concerned over. Yet, Jesus did not tell you to make judgments in the area or command you to act upon. It is everything but what God told you to do.
So “Go and make disciples” is a command. “Love your fellow Christians, your neighbor, and your enemy” are all commands from Jesus. “Do not forsake fellowship” is an exhortation. “Serve Jesus alone” is a clear principle. The Bible sets these out in great detail.
In contrast, “Rap music is from the Devil” is your opinion. You might have reasons you arrived there but the Bible does not say that. “Women must wear skirts” is similarly an expression of a conclusion based on you. “You must vote Democrat or Republican” is an even more obvious along with “You must or must not wear a mask”. There is nothing in the Bible that makes these mandatory. Jesus never said anything close to these ideas. The Bible does not contain commands on them. So why are you upset about them?
You may be absolutely certain your conclusion on an issue. It can seem like the only logical way forward. It is not dishonoring God to have thoughts on an issue. Your opinion may also be totally wrong. You might not have all the facts. Regardless, it is not the point of your salvation by Jesus Christ.
You are His servant.
He is not yours, no matter how strongly you feel.
The Savior did not die for you so you can fix your school system. He did not allow His body to be pierced so you can win an election or have people dress how you like.
Jesus died to offer forgiveness, love, mercy and His Gospel to the world. His blood poured out on the Cross for His enemy. Is your opinion and the emotions that come with it serving that goal? Is it helping you run the race of faith and reaching your enemies for Christ? Is it advancing Jesus’ will?
If not, there is a problem.
Why do Peace and Joy Escape You?
I said from outset this may not be easy. I also promised to be straight with you. I care for you more than my desire to make you happy. Your causes, cares, and battles often have nothing to do with Jesus. Mine too. The question is what do we do next?
King Saul came to this point many times in his life. He got way off track caught up in self determination and sin. God repeatedly called him to come back to Him and submit. His true identity was as God’s servant not as earthly worker – not even one with a crown. Saul refused and chose the easier way to him. He payed dearly for it. Why was David Chosen to Be King? Faith in the Lord is Everything!
So, Honest self assessment time:
Are opinions running your life?
Are they ruining your walk?
Are they poisoning your church?
Are opinion issues taking up all your time, heart, emotions, and cares?
Is your will hiding behind a battle Jesus never called you to fight?
How do people know you? Gentle, peaceful, servant of Christ who is loving to friend or enemy?
Are you defined by your social, political, or cultural opinions?
Do your neighbors know you as a follower of Jesus or a movement?
Do you offend people for your viewpoints or with the Gospel?
Please do not think I am judging you. I am not. God also has not abandoned you or stopped loving you if this is hitting close to home. He loves you because of Jesus on the Cross, remember? It is finished!
This is also really hard for all of us. I am just as willing to emotionally fret, go to war on my own, or despair over my opinions while Jesus sits patiently on the Throne waiting for me to be done. He is perfect. You and I are far from it.
Peter is a wonderful man of God. He is also a walking example of this very thing in the Gospels. One minute he is proclaiming Jesus as Messiah and praised for hearing from God. The very next, Peter is rebuked and compared to Satan by Jesus.
But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” Matthew 16
Why? Peter thought too much of his opinion of Jesus heading to the Cross. He put it before serving Jesus.
God, You Just Don’t Understand
As you think about your opinions, let me introduce you to the prophet Habakkuk. He was a great man of God in tough times. The book that bears his name starts with Israel in dire circumstances. The government is not doing its job. Corruption is rampant. Violence is unpunished and sin is everywhere. Habakkuk is rightly upset and cries out the Lord:
O Lord, how long shall I cry,
And You will not hear?
Even cry out to You, “Violence!”
And You will not save.
Why do You show me iniquity,
And cause me to see trouble?
For plundering and violence are before me;
There is strife, and contention arises.
Therefore the law is powerless,
And justice never goes forth.
For the wicked surround the righteous;
Therefore perverse judgment proceeds.
Are you feeling Habakkuk now? Are you there with your feelings on culture, crime, and corruption? It has been a rough year in some ways. Habakkuk is a wonderful example up to this point. He sees the many issues around him and takes them to the Lord. The problem comes when Habakkuk does not leave them there.
God responds to Habakkuk’s prayers in a way that surprised him.
“Look among the nations and watch—
Be utterly astounded!
For I will work a work in your days
Which you would not believe, though it were told you.
For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans,
Read the first four lines of God’s response above and tell me what you think is coming?
I think revival and prosperity. I look for my nation to thrive again like I want it to. My opinion colors my expectations. Instead, God sent the Chaldeans. They invade Israel as instruments of God’s justice. God sent judgment from Babylon on exactly the issues that broke Habakkuk’s heart. God did it in a way Habakkuk did not want and that was just upsetting.
Habakkuk’s will disagrees with God’s plan and he let God know it. “The Chaldeans, seriously, that is a terribly idea” is my paraphrase of Habakkuk’s response. It is a lot like Peter’s objecting to the Crucifixion – “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You!” They express disappointment in the plan of God because they want their will to be done.
The question to ask yourself is “Where do I do this?”
In what parts of your life do your opinions attempt to rebuke God for His plan?
Where do your conclusions drive you to despair, dread, and rebellion like God is not on His throne?
Where are you offending people for you not for Jesus?
If God sends modern Chaldeans for your nation, prosperity, or plans, how would you respond?
God is just as patient and loving to Habakkuk as He is with you and I. God answers his objection simply:
Behold the proud,
His soul is not upright in him;
But the just shall live by his faith. Habakkuk 2.
The just shall live by faith. He does not only say you will be saved by faith. You will live by it. Faith allows the nation of Israel’s downfall to make sense. Trust in God is the window that allows you to see into God’s wonderful plan of redemption. It is what you are explicitly called to walk by – not your own opinion based sight. Why?
Because the world is not meant to make sense to you. You are of God’s Kingdom now.
Opinions are not unimportant. It is not wrong to feel strongly about an issue. Christianity is not one of the eastern religions that try to turn you into a sea of nothingness. Those seek to deprive you or your humanity. Emotions and individuality are all part of a God’s wonderful art work. Your judgment is valuable. It is just not the same God’s judgment. Your will is not evil. The Lord calls you to submit it to His purposes. Your role is to trust Him with those big things that keep you up at night.
I understand this is really hard. It can be confusing as well . I used David as a good example of laying down one’s opinion. He was far from perfect, though. His son, Absalom, rebelled against David and tried to wrongfully take over God’s Kingdom. He was almost successful until God had David’s men win a great victory on His behalf. God’s chosen king was protected and Israel rejoiced…except David. Absalom died in the aftermath of the battles and David mourned deeply. This is understandable – David’s son died and that is a sad thing. So what was the problem?
David put his personal feelings before his service to God and His people. David acted like God’s victory was a defeat and the nation followed him into mourning. God chose to obey himself rather than show love and concern for the people who risked their lives for God. David allowed his will to run over God’s and it hurt many around him. He likely said “God’s will be done” but his heart was on “David’s will be done”.
Are you stuck in a repeating cycle? God tells you to trust Him. You think it is just too dangerous. God calls you to rejoice. You conclude things are just too bad. The Bible says to not worry. You refuse as God does not understand how big your issue is. Jesus says you will be known as a disciple by your love for your brethren. You want to curse at your brethren. The Bible tells you to submit to authorities. Your heart is in open rebellion. Jesus tells you to minister to the enemies in your life. You blast them on social media or despise them in private while thinking your are showing restraint.
Break free of it today, right now! Preaching Jesus and Him Crucified is our simple command as disciples of the King of Kings. Leave the rest to the One on the Throne whose job it is to worry about it.
So what do you do with opinions?
Submit every single opinion you have to the obedience of Christ.
If it is not a specific direction or command of Jesus, let it go. God said love people and preach the Gospel. He never asked you to fix your country or mankind. That is His responsibility. Sometimes He sends Chaldeans or a Cross.
If it is not advancing the cause of Christ, let go of emotional attachment to it. Hold it very loosely.
It is to really examine what you are fighting for in your life. Is it Jesus and His mission, or you and your opinions? Jesus said He overcame the world. Do you believe Him?
Is God in Charge of Everything?
God doesn’t fear these worldly things. He is not overwhelmed by the approaching evil. He has it all under His perfect control.
Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the Lord and against His Anointed saying,
3 “Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us.”
4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
The Lord shall hold them in derision.
5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
And distress them in His deep displeasure:
6 “Yet I have set My King
On My holy hill of Zion.” Psalm 2
Why don’t you trust Him and let Him?
As a Christian, I ask you the simple question: Why would you not leave all that at God’s feet?
What is causing you stress right now? Why are you sad? What keeps you up at night? What makes you angry?
God’s will being done or yours not being done?
He is way better at ruling heaven and earth than you are!
God is still on the Throne of the Universe. He sits in total authority over heaven and earth. There is nothing that occurs that He is not aware of and using for His good purposes. This includes all those social issues, headlines, elections, and acts of men. The schemes of humans do not surprise the all knowing, all powerful Creator of man. They are like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. The details slightly change but the ship is still going down.
God has it under control. Your job is to glorify the King.
Let Go of Trying to Tell Him How to Do His Job.