What if God desired that you live all your days in a difficult and unloving marriage? What if He asked you to continue pursuing in love a spouse who is unfaithful and who does not love you in return? Or what if he asks you to live as a single never finding mutual love and companionship? What if God although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?
At the center of the lives of many Christian singles is the dream of getting married, finding love, and having the type of relationship that we have always dreamed of. And we fleece God, in worship and bible study, of every benefit of His divine love and wisdom to achieve that dream marriage and relationship. This is not worship as creator would imply or even worship as response to what He has given in Jesus Christ. This is worship as benefactor. Worship as creator has God at the center and our desires naturally secondary to His divine will. Worship as benefactor has our desires at the center and God coming alongside us with all of His divine love and power to assist us or bless us with our heart’s desire. He is a part of our American Dream.
We are pursuing the good life with an idolatrous zeal in the name of Jesus. And because what we want we cloth in the garments of righteousness, the fact that our desire is at the center goes undetected. We are unaware that it is idolatry. When our spouse sins, we are more hurt that they have ruined our dream life than that they have sinned against God Almighty. So when God Almighty forgives, we don’t. We don’t, because what we have always wanted we now cannot have. They have ruined it and taken from us what is most precious and therefore it is unforgiveable.
It is an epistemology really. It is a belief system. It is an idolatrous view of God. We read his word as a prescription for success in life; this life, that is. We snuggle up to Him for all the benefits a righteous life will bring. But for us He is not God, he is a powerful benefactor. We believe that He is real. We believe that He exists outside of us, but simply alongside of us. But God is real and he exists outside of us, but we don’t exist outside of Him. To Him we owe our very existence. Our lives belong to Him, just as a pot belongs to a potter, directing and determining its future. This is the God we often reject in favor of a god who gets His joy from seeing His people happy and blessed.
What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so, to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory. (Romans 9:22,23) This is God, sovereign, beautiful, true, and worthy of worship.