GOD AS VENDING MACHINE
Sunday, January 2, 2011
GOD AS VENDING MACHINE
“You did not choose Me,
but I chose you and appointed you
to go and bear fruit—
fruit that will last.
Then the Father will give you
whatever you ask in My Name.
This is My command:
Love each other.”
Many so-called teachers and prophets loudly proclaim that God is obligated to answer our prayers and meet our needs because of “promises” He’s made. It’s a very popular idea, this “God is a vending machine” sort of approach to being a Christian.
The idea is this: That God made all these promises in Scripture, and that since He is God, and always speaks the Truth, then if we quote these promises to Him, and “remind” Him of them, He must honor them and give us what we ask for. All false prosperity gospels are based on this premise.
Punch a button, get a treat. Quote a Scripture, get a need met. Believe and receive. Name it and claim it.
All of it is an affront to our Almighty Father, and to His Son, the Christ. Do we think He is a man, that we can manipulate Him? Do we believe He is an industrial-age machine that spews out dollars and cents like the slots at our favorite casino? Is He a dog, who operates on Pavlov’s principles? Who do we think we are, to demand things of God when we don’t obey Him in His simplest commands?
God loved us and sent Christ to die for us so that we can be saved out of this evil world, and become part of His Kingdom. And all He asks in return is that we love Him, and love others as He loves us. If we do this, then He will bless us with all spiritual blessings in Christ, and we will bear fruit as we live in Christ, and Christ lives through us.
What kind of fruit? Fruit that will last. In other words, eternal fruit. Love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, meekness, faith and self-control. The fruit of the Spirit. The fruit that Christ bore in front of us in His life on earth. Did Jesus demand money and fame out of His Father? No, in fact He gave that all up for His Father. He gave up His own life for His Father’s will.
So we are commanded to give up, and follow Christ. To sacrifice all, in order to gain all that is important. To lose our lives here, so that we may gain Christ, and be found in Him. And our reward is future, it is coming, it is not yet here, but is stored up for us in heaven.
Our God does not sit around like a mindless machine, waiting for people to say the right phrases or quote the right Scripture to dispense to them whatever they ask for.
There is an order here (see the passage above):
1. Christ chooses us.
2. Christ appoints us to go and bear fruit.
3. We obey and He bears the eternal fruit of His Spirit in us.
4. Our will and our desires become conformed to His will and desires.
5. Then we ask in Christ’s Name for the things that conform to God’s will.
6. God gives us what we ask for, because we do not ask selfishly, but from His heart.
We must understand that we don’t choose God, He chooses us, and appoints us to obey Him by bearing the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. Unless we do obey, we are not going to receive anything good from the Lord. We must become obedient, or nothing else matters.
This is the first thing. Our loving obedience to our Father in heaven. To be like Christ, who gave Himself and His own desires up, and prayed only for the will of the Father to be done.
“Not My will but Yours be done.”
We can approach the throne of grace in confidence when we begin to learn this. As it says in Hebrews, when we know Christ—really know Him, not just about Him—we don’t treat Him like a heavenly vending machine. He is real to us, and Lord, and we approach Him with love and confidence that He will do what’s right for us. We understand that what we really need is His mercy and grace, and His will, as we don’t understand enough to know what we really need. He is God, and He knows all things, and what’s best for us.
“For we do not have a high priest
who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but we have One who has been tempted
in every way just as we are—
yet was without sin.
Let us then approach the throne of grace
with confidence, so that we may receive
mercy and find grace to help us
in our time of need.”
Does this sound like God as vending machine? No. It sounds like our Lord and High Priest Christ, who knows how to give us exactly what we need, because He gives the best gifts to His children out of His endless store of love, mercy and grace.
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