What Does God Think of You?

Many years ago while in college I was involved in the Baptist Student Ministry. During school breaks, several of us who wanted to become ministers participated in leading church revival services. Fortunately during one Christmas break I went to Colorado to preach in student-led services.

We college students went out with some church members to the slopes for inner tubing downhill one dark evening after the services. One young woman from the church took a special interest in me and we spent time together on the slopes. While walking back up to tube down the hill, she slipped and fell in the snow. Even though she was a church go-er, an ungracious word slipped from her lips. Looking up from the snow, she apologized to me for using that word, and “cussing in front of the preacher.” That was neither the first nor the last time I have heard such words.

“I don’t condemn you,” I said. “It doesn’t matter what I think of you. What matters is, what does God think of you?” It is not my role to condemn people for their habits. My opinion does not count.

What does count is, “What does God think?” What does God think of your life? The answer to that question can be found in God’s word. The Bible says that apart from Christ, we “were enemies in [our] minds because of [our] evil behavior.” (See Colossians 1:21). While we like to think of God as some sort of “Cosmic Grandpa” who overlooks our sin, the Bible says that we are actually enemies of God apart from Christ.

That sounds negative; but if we persist in the rebellion of sin, the result is punishment. The good news is found in Colossians 1:22: “But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—”

No one will be compared to me at judgment. And I will not be compared to anyone else. We will be compared to the standard of Jesus Christ. It does not matter if I suppose I am better than someone else, or they think they are better than I am. All of us fall short of Christ’s perfect standard. However, by repenting of our rebellion and trusting in Christ’s sacrifice, we can be reconciled to God and declared blameless in His sight. You are not saved because you are the greatest person. You are only saved because you have trusted in the Greatest Savior who made the greatest sacrifice for you. How does your life measure up?

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Finding the Root Cause

Recently I took a class at New Mexico Junior College’s Training and Outreach Department on Incident Investigation. Every incident in the oilfield must be investigated. An incident is anything that causes workplace illness, personal injury or property damage. The purpose of the investigation is not primarily to place blame, but to discover what happened so everyone can learn from it and not repeat it. Investigators want to find the root cause, that is, what really caused the incident to happen, what led up to the incident under investigation. Once that is determined, the company can move forward to correct the problem.

For example, if a hammer falls from a scaffold and almost hits a worker, that is a near miss. It still needs investigation even if no injury resulted. The investigator might find that the hammer fell because a worker inadvertently kicked it off the scaffold. The investigator would seek to find out why. Digging deeper he or she might discover that toe boards had not been installed. Why not? Because the scaffold had not been installed by a qualified person. Why not? You see how the process goes? You keep digging until you get to the root cause of the incident.

Let’s take the same scenario and apply it to society. A hammer falls off a scaffold and severely injures a worker, so what do we do? We immediately ban hammers because they can cause injuries. So all hammers are removed from the worksite. The following day, a crescent wrench falls from the scaffold, so we ban all crescent wrenches from the worksite. And so it goes. Instead of finding the root cause, we keep cutting off the leaves. Eventually we wind up with a worksite with no tools left.

After the Connecticut shootings many want to ban assault rifles as though that would stop gun violence. Then we have two explosions involving pressure cookers and nails, so should we ban those too? A man walks into a store, buys a knife and then starts stabbing people on the way out. Should we ban knives too? (By the way, he was stopped by a civilian who had a gun and used it before the police arrived. All he had to do was to tell the man to put the knife down.)

After the stabbings at the church in Albuquerque, one person commented on line: “Well I’m glad he didn’t have a gun.” Perhaps if he had thought that someone at church might have a gun, maybe he would have thought twice before attacking the choir.

No one has yet addressed the root cause in all this. We can ban every weapon known to mankind and people will still kill one another. What weapon did Cain use to slay his brother? The Bible doesn’t specifically say. The point is, the sin was in his heart before he killed Abel. God even addressed Cain and tried to warn him of the danger in his heart. God does the same today. The problem is not in the hand that bears the weapon; it is in the heart that moves the hand. The prophet Jeremiah wrote: “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

The good news is that God wants to change that heart. The prophet Ezekiel wrote: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26). God created the heart. And God can re-create it for you if you will let him. All it takes is to turn it over to him.