Towards Believing Rightly

“What we find when we read the story of the wilderness temptations closely is that Satan is not so much tempting us to disbelieve as to believe unfaithfully. Again and again, he entices Jesus to use God’s word against him, to claim God’s truth in a false way. And the same holds true for our temptations: Satan wants us to take God’s promises to mean what they do not in fact mean, so that we are confused about what we can and should expect from God. 

Perhaps that is where we too often find ourselves: believing strongly — but in misunderstandings of God’s word. We trust God as provider, but rely on our own sense of need. We trust God as healer, but assume we know what health is. We trust God as deliverer and protector, but expect that deliverance to come on our own terms and in our own time. In these and in countless other ways we are so much of the time taxed by false expectations and bad desires, waiting on God to do what God is not going to do — at least not in the way we expect it to be done. And so we move from suffering to suffering, from frustration to frustration, from disappointment to disappointment, not because God is unfaithful, but because our expectations of God are stubbornly perverse. We have turned the bread of God’s promises into stones of distrust. 

What are we to do, then? How do we right our expectations? We must contemplate the living God as he has made himself known to us in Christ. And we must give time for that contemplation to convert our imaginations, to free us from the illusions that blind us and from the passions that enslave us.” – Chris E.W. Green

[From Surprised by God: How and Why What We Think about the Divine Matters, pp.39-40. These short theological essays are devotional, wise, and challenging. I highly recommend this book for all.]

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