“I kind of hate to admit this,” I said to Stan one morning, “but I was reading some things in the Bible last night that I really don’t like to read.”
“What’s that, my friend,” Stan replied,“something that convicted you?”
“No,” I said. “There are lots of things in the Bible that convict me, but not last night. I was reading about when Jesus was arrested in the garden and how He was treated before He was crucified.”
“Oh, right,” Stan replied. “Definitely some tough things to read about, but I’ve found that there are are at least two separate things about that which are important to me and my faith walk.”
“Two things about how Jesus was treated during the night he was betrayed and how He was treated on the way to the cross are important for your faith walk?” I said. “You kidding?”
“No,” Stan replied, “I’m not kidding. In the first place, it’s important for me to see all that Jesus went through on my behalf. When I focus on that, it really puts into the right perspective just how Jesus took upon Himself all that I deserve.”
“Okay,” I said, “I can see that. What about the second thing about that you said is important to your faith walk?”
“My own mistreatment of God.”
“Your own mistreatment of God?” I replied. “What mistreatment?”
“Treating Him as less than He deserves as the Lord God Almighty, Creator of the Universe, my Lord and my Savior,” Stan said. “In essence slapping Him in the face rather than falling down before Him in worship and adoration.”
“You do that?” I asked.
“I do,” Stan replied. “Just like you started this conversation by saying you hated to admit something, I, too, hate to admit the way I treat God sometimes. It is hard to admit, but it’s true.”
“In what way do you mistreat God?”
“Plural,” Stan replied. “Not loving Him the way He deserves. Not loving and treating others the way He has instructed. Not obeying Him the way He wants. All sorts of stuff that is totally contrary to being His and wanting an ever-deepening personal relationship with Him.”
“Well,” I said, “if that’s really true, why would you do that?”
“Same old story,” Stan responded. “Me wanting to do what I want to do regardless of what God has done for me and regardless of what continues to do for me each day.”
Continuing, he added, “Failure to deny self and get out of God’s way; failure to take up my cross by being what He has for me to be and doing what He has for me to do; and, thirdly, failure to follow Him wherever, however, and whenever He wants to lead.”
“Again,” I said, “if that’s true, what happens when you realize you have mistreated God?”
“What happens?” Stan said. “With God or with me?”
“There’s a difference?” I asked.
“Sure is,” he replied. “If I have mistreated God and, in essence, slapped Him in the face, He is apt to turn the other cheek in His unlimited grace and mercy.”
“What about you?”
“If I have any sense,” Stan replied, “I will confess and repent!”
Bible verses to consider:
And when He had said this, one of the officers standing by gave Jesus a blow, saying, “Is that the way You answer the high priest?” Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, bear witness of the wrong, but if rightly, why do you strike Me?” John 18:22-23.
I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God, I will gird you, though you have not known Me. Isaiah 45:5.
“Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Philippians 1:27.
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called. Ephesians 4:1.
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. John 14:15.
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. Luke 9:23.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your provision of all I hold dear: life eternally with you when it’s time, along with the eternal life of knowing you and Jesus before then. I confess there are too many times when I mistreat you in spite of all you have done and continue to do for me. I do that because I want to do what I want to do apart from you, rather than be and do what you have for me as your child. Please forgive me for all of the times I have not related to you and treated you the way you want and deserve. Please help me in following very step of your lead into the deepest possible personal relationship where I treat you only and always as you deserve. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: If you do not yet have a personal relationship with God in Christ so you know you will spend eternity in His presence when your time here is done, why is that? What’s standing in the way of accepting all He did in providing the way to Him? If you do have the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing in treating God the way He wants and expects to be treated while you remain on this side of eternity? If you sense the need for change in your relationship with and how you treat God, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?