Don’t think for yourself.

Boy, my dad is turning over in his grave at the title of this blog post.

If there was anything in all the world my father valued, it was training us up to be women who know how to think for ourselves.  He longed for us to be women who aren’t swayed by the world or culture or our friends. (Ironically I spent years of my life attempting to appear like I was ‘thinking for myself’ just so I could please him.)

I value thinking.  I love the writers and theologians who have taught me that walking with Jesus does not mean checking your mind at the door. God has no interest in developing people who are mindlessly is tossed about by whatever the new hip pastor or teacher is telling us is true.  He doesn’t want me to blindly obey any person I encounter on this earth.

Don't Think.

But make no mistake, Christianity does mean blind obedience.  Listen to this crazy story I just read in 1 Samuel:PART ONE: God tells Saul that he wants him to go kill an entire people group because they were mean to the Israelites.  ( Boy, as God’s PR manager, I sure do hate it when He does and says things that aren’t going to be good for His reputation in our post modern world.)

PART TWO: Saul goes and kills the people group, but instead of annihilating every single living creature (as God commanded), he keeps their best possessions so that he can sacrifice them to God.  What a nice guy.

PART THREE:  God is not happy.  At all.  In fact, he calls Saul’s actions rebellion, idolatry.  He says that He doesn’t care about sacrifice if it comes from a heart that is not willing to obey in the details.

Here’s what we learn from Saul.  God loves our minds.  He wants us to use them to love Him and to seek to unde

rstand His ways.  But God doesn’t want us to use our minds to think ourselves out of unquestioning obedience to His voice.

Sometimes we encounter commands that make sense, but sometimes He says things that sound crazy.

I don’t know why God tells me to pray with faith believing that I already have what I pray.  I don’t know why He says it that way when it seems clear that it will logically result in using God like a vending machine.  I don’t know why God tells us to forgive ‘so that’ we can be forgiven.  I don’t know why He says it that way when it seems clear that it will logically result in a religious view of Him.But God doesn’t need me to understand.  He doesn’t need me to cover for Him.  He calls me to believe His voice.

God wants us to be a people who refuse to think our way out of obedience in the details.

There are a million times and moments when obedience is illogical. So often I think that God doesn’t care abo

ut how I get to the end as long as I get there, but that’s a lie.  God cares about the means as much as the end.

It’s not ‘obedience’ if I avoid sexual sin out of a heart that is motivated by the fear of man.  It’s not ‘obedience’ if I have peaceful relationships at work but in my heart I cradle jealousy and bitterness.  It’s not ‘obedience’ if I pick the right job, the right guy, the right place to live, if my heart isn’t peaceful while I’m doing it.God cares desperately that you and I seek to obey in the details.

God gave Saul very specific details.  He didn’t want Saul to just fulfill the ‘heart’ of the command

; He wanted Saul to obey in every part of the command.

God has given us instructions that are just as specific as the ones He gave Saul.  He’s written t
This is such a battle for me.  I am terrified to just trust Jesus and walk forward.  What if I look like an idiot?  What if I miss out on some great opportunity?  I’m so busy thinking ten steps ahead that I can’t be faithful with the step right in front of me.hem down for us in His Word and He is not interested with us weighing the pros and cons before we obey.

But it is in these moments that faith is born.  When obedience makes logical sense to me, I walk by sight.  I can see why I am going where I am going and I can see why it is best.

It is only in the moments when obedience makes no sense  that I have the unique opportunity to walk by faith.

Sigh.  Here’s to submitting to an authority that’s greater than my mind.

2 thoughts on “Don’t think for yourself.

  1. Fabs,

    This is very well thought out and what a topic to tackle! I mean honestly, everyone wrestles with this subject. What is obidience and what does it look like to actually walk in this and how does one discover this? Whether in small groups, “quiet times” (what a funny saying, what does that really mean anyway) or even sitting out on the front porch, we debate the question, “lord what would you have of me?”

    The way to answer this question is very very very simple yet complex. Jesus answers with, follow me and believe in the gospel. Pretty simple right!? But I wonder why God waits so long on some before he calls a heart (tax collector, Women at the well, Paul, Moses, etc.) why the wait? We’re they walking is delayed dissobience, could they not see… It intrigues me to read about the circumstance that Christ calls one to be His. why did he allow them to be captured by the things of this world so long? I wonder if it was necessary for sanctification, or could it be they always knew but could not follow? Why Could they not let go of the things that made them slaves? I wonder if their is such thing as delayed dissobience?

    I think you can connect this to the means and end you were speaking about. I agree with you, the means by which God grooms one is of vast importance. It will effect the way a person views everything! But how does this relate to delayed dissobience, can this idea exisist when the means, walking in dissobience, opens the door for seeing Him with pure eyes? Food for thought! Thanks for the post!

  2. I was just reading this story last week. What a reminder that God desires obedience over sacrifice. We visited the site of 1 Samuel 28 (Mt. Gilboa) while in Israel this spring and our teacher connected both 1 Sam. 15 and 28 to make the point that Saul confused his own agenda with the will of God.

    Thanks so much for unpacking the text in this post. Loved this paragraph: “But it is in these moments that faith is born. When obedience makes logical sense to me, I walk by sight. I can see why I am going where I am going and I can see why it is best.”

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