To a certain extent, being a Christian is easy. You’re not buying drugs in the dead of night, furtively looking around as you hand a wad of cash to a drug dealer, hoping you don’t get shot. On the lam, eyes darting everywhere, frantically searching for cops—lest you end up back in the slammer. Seeking an out-of-the-way, sleazy motel to check into with someone other than your wife. (And then sleeping with one eye open because you’ll lose body parts if said wife finds out.) The list is endless. At least, I hope you’re not. Those activities are better left to characters in a novel.
Nope, it’s a lot easier. You’re calmer. Serenity reigns. You don’t have to make any major moral decisions, changing your views to fit the world’s latest whim. If you understand God’s laws and have read his instruction manual, things are clear-cut. Easy peasy! Right? Well…I do find one thing difficult. Sometimes I have a hard time deciding what God wants me to do, versus what I want to do. That’s the tricky part.
A little guy lives on my shoulder. Okay, that’s just figuratively speaking, of course, but I find it a quick way to explain why I do some of the things I do. I try to pay close attention, because a big decision looms. Is it Father or…the other guy? That’s an easy answer if he’s urging me to buy a Baby Ruth candy bar. It ends up on the check-out counter faster than kiss a duck. The ‘other guy’ loves Baby Ruth candy bars. I’m an enabler. I give him a pass on that one. It’s the other things I sometimes have a hard time with.
It would be a lot easier if every conversation started with “This is God speaking,” but it doesn’t. On the surface, it’s relatively simple. God likes lettuce…O.G. likes Snickers. God doesn’t smoke…O.G. has a nasty habit. God thinks exercise is good for the body and soul…O.G. likes recliners. God doesn’t cuss…O.G. was probably a drunken sailor. Another endless list.
I don’t ever have to decide between doing the really ‘immoral’ things. Moses enumerated the big no-noes for us. I know chef’s knives are for slicing watermelons and not throats. I know I should pay for that candy bar—enabling O.G. doesn’t include shoplifting. I struggle with the small, gray areas of Christianity. Bible or sitcom? Church or sleep? Talk to someone about God or be too self-conscious to speak up. Comfort a hurting friend or come up with some lame excuse to escape. Candy bar or fruit. You get the idea.
As I grow in my relationship with God, I understand more why He isn’t always so clear. If the message is a little garbled, I turn to Him for clarification. I seek His advice, pray for His will to be done (and shown,) and I have a closer relationship with Him than I would otherwise. That’s a good thing. Right? Right.
Probably the day I start understanding every word He says is the day I start growing apart from the most important relationship in my life. Doomed to a life of loneliness. No voices on my shoulder, no serenity…cut off from the center of my world. Just the thought sends me into a funk so blue that even a king-sized Snickers wouldn’t alleviate my depression. So, God, you keep talking, and I’ll keep listening. With a little luck—I won’t understand a word you’re saying.