“Rationalizing has nothing to do with God.” I uttered those words to my small bible study group the other day. Yes, that group of girls that are all Freshman this year, just looked at me. We had been discussing what it means to be obedient to God and what obedience looks like. They had some pretty ugly thoughts about obedience. I mean, come on, they are 14 and 15 year olds – of course obedience is ugly. Their entire life is under the control of someone.
Don’t get me wrong, control of your teenagers is a good thing. I use it all the time. What happens though when they “get” to make their own choices? Will they make good, Godly decisions? Will they use the Word to form their choices? Will they offer their worries up to God before saying harsh words to their friends?
When these girls are faced with hard choices and they start to rationalize why that choice is the “right” one, then that should be the number one clue that God is not involved in that particular choice. God doesn’t involve rationalizing. God has strict rules that are either His way or the highway. As adults, we all try to rationalize our poor choices. I know I do! Just like teenagers, we think, “Well that person is doing it, so why shouldn’t I be able to?” Come on I know you do it.
I have been face to face with that rationalizing mentality way too many times.
The other day, I was in the midst of a very hard choice. I needed to work on a speech, but yet I really wanted to go to lunch with a friend. I knew that I needed to spend some time with God and really pray about what words He wanted me to use. I knew that I needed to spend time with my mouth closed and my ears and heart open, but I really wanted to see this friend too. I hadn’t seen her in a while, and it sure would be nice to get together just this once. I wish I could say I made the right choice, but I didn’t. I went to lunch with my friend and the very next day was face to face with that bad choice.
Don’t get me wrong, my friend is a great person, but I shouldn’t have chosen her over God that day. Because of that choice, I was cramming two days before my talk to really hear God’s voice. Thankfully, after a lot of apologizing, He spoke his sweet words onto my paper and into my ears.
I rationalized my way into making my choice seem fine, when it really wasn’t. Rationalization has nothing to do with God.
You notice that Noah when he built the ark followed God’s orders. All those other people were rationalizing. “Come on, no way is there going to be a flood so huge that we need an ark like that guy Noah is building.” Can’t you hear the rationalizations as to why they weren’t doing what Noah was for God? I can. I would have been one of them.
What rationalizations were going on when Jesus performed miracles? “That guy just is working magic. It is probably his friend pretending to be lame and blind. No one can do that.” Rationalizing.
How about when Moses saw the burning bush? Thank goodness he didn’t rationalize. If it were me, I probably would have been looking around for someone who had lit that bush on fire. I would have been thinking up every excuse as to why that bush is aflame and talking to me. Rationalizing.
God wants us to be obedient when we make tough choices. He doesn’t want us rationalizing. He wants us to trust him.
That’s hard. That’s when I usually turn and run. Trusting God without rationalizations is a very hard, long road. He never told us it would be easy.
Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me
Being obedient is not our natural response; rationalizing is. It takes prayer and trust to be obedient. It’s easy to rationalize. We can point our fingers at our teenagers and how disobedient they are, but yet we are too. We struggle with someone controlling our every move. We rationalize signs that God blatantly puts in our pathway. We all struggle with trusting his beautiful, perfect plan.
Pray for obedience. Put a stop to your rationalizing. Recognize when you start to justify YOUR plan. Know that wisdom only comes from God and it doesn’t involve rationalizing.
To sum it all up completely, look at Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.