Presumptuous Church: Romans 11

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I don’t know about you, but I like to be right. This desire to always be right can be a serious problem if I’m not careful. I have picked up a lot of knowledge and tidbits of information along the way, so I can often be seen as knowledgable or wise. I’m so grateful for the mind that God has given me but, if I’m not careful, I can fall into the trap of consulting with myself and myself alone.

I can make financial decisions without consulting with anyone.
I can make life decisions based on what I feel is best.
And, worse still, I can presume to speak on behalf of God without consulting him.

Honestly, while writing this series and, in particular, the “Presumptuous Church” posts, I have been asking God if this is truly what he wants me to write. I don’t want to assume that I know best without consulting him. I don’t want to mine the depths of his word and draw incorrect conclusions. I don’t want to misrepresent him.

But that hasn’t always been how I’ve done things.

Years ago, I sang in my church choir and we would memorize a chunk of scripture together monthly. I remember when we memorized Romans 11:33-36. Though I believed that these verses were true, there was still a little part of me that almost viewed them as a challenge. Instead of being in awe at the sheer vastness of God, I subconsciously thought that God was yet another thing to try and grapple with to fully understand. Maybe Paul couldn’t understand God, but I sure wanted to try my hand at it. (There’s that pride again…)

Here’s what those verses say:

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

“For who has known the mind of the Lord,
    or who has been his counselor?”

“Or who has given a gift to him
    that he might be repaid?”

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:33-36 (ESV)

These verses are incredible! My goodness! Read them again and go slowly. Where does your mind drift to? What feelings come up? How do these verses cause you to marvel at God?

When I fall into that presumptuous state, it’s usually as a result of me wanting to be right instead of wanting to marvel at God. I want to be seen as knowledgeable instead of actually craving his presence.

I think there’s something comforting about our smallness and God’s bigness, though I often try to make myself bigger than I should. It’s nice to know that God isn’t going to be fully discovered or figured out by us—once we understand one facet of his character, there’s always something gloriously new to discover.

Being right is overrated.
Enjoying an adventure with God is how we were created to live.

God doesn’t expect us to be perfect or right. But we are called to know him and make him known. But I think we often skip to the “making him known” part before we spend intimate time with him. When we share about Christ without actually knowing who he is, it’s really easy to presume. We can make God out to be someone that he isn’t. We can, whether we mean to or not, make God into our own image instead of allowing him, through a deep relationship, to make us into his image.

I think we can all fall into the trap of presuming to know God’s heart, mind, or wants, without ever consulting him. It’s really tempting to do so. But God is all about being with us—he values our presence and our relationship. When we make the mistake of presuming, he still invites us back into his presence. He calls us back to himself.

In humility, let’s run back to him today. May we come to treasure his presence!

To go Deeper: Read Characteristics of the Kingdom: Near,
Slowing Down Enough to Savor God

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