I Work For Treats…

When our kids were little we took them to Marine World and we watched the dolphin show.  It’s the show where dolphins jump through hoops, hit balls with their noses, rise out of the water and swims backward.  It’s pretty cool. In between every trick, the dolphin would look to the trainer as if to say, “I was really good, can I have a treat now?”

Wanna know a secret?  I am kind of like this with God.  I work for treats.  I pray, “Hey God, I have done really well in a particular area of my life, how about tossing a little treat my way.”  Okay, maybe I don’t really say that, cause that would be kind of disrespectful to God… But I do think it.  Here is how it goes.

I read my bible and expect my day to be better…  I pray and expect people to treat me better… I go to church and put a little somethin/somethin in the offering plate; “howsa bout a little somethin/somethin back God?”  God’s the trainer and I am the trainee.  I perform a trick and he tosses me a treat.  This mentality is real, it is subtle and dangerous.

This mentality robs me of the joy of grace.  The bible tells me that I obey because I love and I love because he loved first.  If this is true, then I have already been treated by God but not because I did an awesome trick.  I am like the dolphin that misses every trick, but before the show ever began, I got more treats than I could possibly imagine.  Not because of a stellar performance but rather because of a gracious master.  I have already been loved and He has already done more than I deserve and I am already blessed.  I do not obey to gain favor; I obey because I am loved and because I love.  I have already been given favor by God; this is called grace.

This mentality kills my faith by leaving me in a constant state of disappointment with God.  “I was good but didn’t get a treat.  What’s the deal with that?”  I think that God must not love me… He must not be paying attention… He must not be as good as people say…  I must not be doing it right… my past is too bad for God to overcome… so I throw up my hands and wonder if it is worth it.  This mentality kills my faith.

Thinking this way destroys my faithfulness to God by letting disappointment with God become my operating system for our relationship.  This is not easy to admit but is sure explains why so many people are disappointed in God.  I did the trick but God didn’t toss the treat.  “What’s going on here God, we had an arrangement.  I’ll be good and you hook me up with blessings.”  When I am disappointed in God, I will most likely struggle to be faithful to God.  It is hard to be faithful to a God who does not keep his end of the bargain.  Following Jesus is hard but it is supposed to fix the stuff in my life that is messed up.  Isn’t that a part of the deal?  I feel like I am 25 tricks ahead of his treats.

Jesus said, “If you love me you will obey me…”  Simple isn’t it.  When we lose this truth we have no chance at joy and all we are left with is the anxiety of wondering when our treat will come.  Off… we go now.

~ by OFF we go now on July 8, 2010.

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