If you were in Back to the Future II, and you walked into your Hilldale residence, would a computerized voice that sounds like a 1980’s Speak & Spell greet you by saying, “Welcome home, Lord of the Manner, King of the Castle”?
That is to say, are you where the buck stops? Is it your way or the highway? If mom’s not happy, no one’s happy? Who’s opinion matters more? Who’s word is law?
Well, in the stereotypical American home, dad and mom wield that authority . . . but should they? Is that really how God created it to work?
Well, I won’t leave you in too much suspense. The answer is . . . kind of. Do the parents have authority over their children? Yes, they do. But are dad and mom the end all to end all? Definitely not.
Because the focus of this episode is not to detail the authority structure in the home, I’ll include a link to an earlier episode we did called “Stop Being the Leader!” It unpacks the glorious reality of the fact that parents are not the ultimate authority in the home. There’s someone else far more important in that regard.
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Okay, the title of today’s episode is “Are you God in Your Home?” As you can probably imagine, you shouldn’t be. God should be God in your home.
But even if you don’t consider yourself the King of the Castle or Matron of the Manner, that doesn’t mean you don’t try to be God in your home.
Today we’re going to look at 5 different ways you intentionally or unintentionally take God’s place in your family structure.
And — as you can imagine — that never works out. It will always hurt relationships, tempt the other family members to sin, and lead to overall family disfunction.
“But how,” you may ask, “does a parent pretend to be God?” What does that look like?
I’m glad you asked.
Think about just some of the things God has done. He created the universe, He facilitates each atom, tracks every sparrow, counts the stars, and superintends every event to achieve His greatest glory and the benefit of His followers.
If God weren’t God, He’d have his hands full.
Yet, even though we know He’s omnipotent and omniscient, we still feel the need to “lend God a hand.” It’s like we think we’re His administrative assistant or something.
Guess what. He doesn’t need our help to do His job. In fact, there are many cases where He flat-out commands that we stay away from that which only He can do.
So, what divine tasks have you tried to usurp recently?
1. We Save Someone.
We all know we can’t redeem anyone’s soul from Hell. We need Christ’s shed blood as much as the next guy. However, we often pretend we can see the heart of man and then use that “divine insight” to make pronouncements concerning another’s eternal destiny. And what’s worse, many people do this with their children.
I once spoke with a teen who informed me that he’d recently been born again. He also told me that when he shared this news with his father, Daddy-o reminded his son that he’d been saved since he was five and insisted his son had merely received “assurance of salvation.”
Eight months later that young man had completely rejected God and is now a hard-core atheist.
Not good, Dad. Not good.
Instead of being aware of his son’s doubt, confusion, and searching, Father-dear assuaged his own concerns by futilely trying to write his son’s name in the Lamb’s Book of Life. While trying to convince his son that he was saved, Dad missed the chance to share Christ with him.
We can’t save someone, and we can’t know for certain a person’s saved. You can tell a tree by its fruit, but we seem to regularly mess that up too. When dealing with someone about their eternal destiny, let God’s Word be their source of joy and comfort. I recommend pointing the person to I John. It’s also very helpful to take them through Galatians 5 where it lists the Fruits of the Flesh and Spirit. Allow the Scriptures to reveal their standing with God. If they don’t have assurance from the Bible, you shouldn’t say anything to convince them.
That’s God’s job.
2. We Get Revenge.
Most Bible readers are familiar with the anti-revenge injunction; but does that really stop them?
“'Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”
But we love to punch-in with our holy time card and start delivering pallets of vengeance. We use passive/aggressive quips, manipulation, caustic remarks, gossip, and all-out backstabbing techniques simply because we want our antagonist to feel the same pain we did when they hurt us.
This is sin. Every time.
God saves this chore for Himself because He is the only one who can exact righteous vengeance. We avenge because we feel we must protect our own pride; God avenges because His holiness is actually worth it.
3. We Condemn Others.
Have you ever said something like, “He will never change!”
Oh, really? According to the Bible, change is God’s biggest accomplishment! Behind every moment and minutia of the day God’s sovereign hand is working to change us.
Yet our divine condemnations are actually motivated by pessimistic hatred.
You see, love hopes all things and believes all things (I Corinthians 13:7). True love rests in God’s ability to do the miraculous and optimistically looks forward to our loved one’s maturity. When we assume someone will never change, we’re being hateful.
We also heist this God-job when we judge people for doing things the Bible doesn’t directly address. It’s true that we are commanded to make judgements. John 7:24 says “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” But the key is we’re to use God’s Word and His wisdom to discern between good and evil. However, when we judicially decree that someone is sinning in an area the Bible doesn’t specifically name . . . we must be very careful. Condemning a soul is God’s job.
4. We Assume Motives.
I Samuel is very clear that man’s understanding of another man is very limited. We see the skin. However, God has the ability to know the thoughts and intents of a person’s soul. I Samuel 16:7 tells us “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Yet that rarely stops us from assuming we know why people do what they do.
“I’ve seen it before.”
“I know why she said that.”
“He always does the same thing because he’ll never change.”
God has equipped us with the wisdom and discernment necessary to shine His Truth on a situation. When we use the Bible, we can often have a very clear picture of the motivations God reveals. But because our personal insight can only penetrate the freckle-level, we must remember the four key things about interpreting another’s motives we discussed in episode five: “4 Ways to Better Understand Your Child.”
5. We Receive Worship.
Of all the things for which God’s responsible, this one is the most dastardly to usurp. However, we’re so stuck on ourselves, we’re quick to impersonate God when worship is being passed out.
This is the proverbial “dancing where angels fear to tread” for even angels are smart enough not to take this job.
How many times today have you impersonated God by receiving worship?
Ken Collier said, there are “just two choices on the shelf, pleasing God and pleasing self.” When we reject God’s will and do what’s right in our own eyes, we’re placing ourselves higher than God. We’re worshipping ourselves. Everything from reading blogs to parenting to eating to taking out the trash must be done as an act of worship to God. The moment we don’t actively desire God’s glory we’re seeking our own. Interestingly enough, it’s when we snatch this task from God that we seek to take the other four jobs to ourselves as well.
If you’ve been perceptive, then you’ve realized two things: 1. You’ve taken God’s job far more often than you thought. And 2. The one constant that runs through all of these impersonations is blatant arrogance and pride.
We’ve come to the place where we think we can do God’s job better than He can. It’s so easy to give someone confidence in their eternal state, exact revenge, condemn others, read people’s minds, and bask in the glory of worship!
Unfortunately, we not only epically fail with each attempt, we make everyone else’s God-given jobs that much more difficult because now we’re the ones that need to be rebuked, corrected, and admonished.
We’ve been tasked with enormously vital responsibilities. God wants you to be His ambassador. He’s gifted you to fulfill every “one another” in Scripture. He’s given you His Word to use in disciplining, counseling, parenting, leading, and mentoring your children. He’s called you to bear the Fruit of the Spirit and put on the whole Armor of God. He’s entrusted you with the life-changing gospel of Christ
There are plenty of things to keep us busy.
Stop taking God’s job!
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