This morning I awoke with the thought of attitudes, reactions or responses. No one observes more reactions and responses than a mama. Lord knows I’ve seen a spectrum of emotions on a daily basis from my children. One of my biggest responsibilities as a parent is training my children how to properly react and respond to things.
Falling out in the floor and crying is an improper response to being told you can’t have anymore cookies.
Shouting and stomping your foot is an improper response to being asked to go clean your room.
I also recognize that our responses and reactions are tied to our level of maturity.
I anticipate and expect my three year old daughter to collapse in the floor in a puddle of tears when told she can’t drink anymore juice. However, when her five year old brother tries the exact same response, he’s met with an entirely different reaction from me.
However, it is all training for them and for me.
What came to me this morning was that God, in His infinite wisdom, often uses His responses and our reactions to His responses to test our hearts and motives. No better proof of this is found than in the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4. The two brothers offered sacrifices to God, one offering the produce of his land, and the other, a lamb. God rejected Cain’s sacrifice and accepted Abel’s. The interesting part comes in God’s response to Cain’s reaction of being upset. He said to him, “If ye do well, will ye not be accepted?”
That is the critical point that I want to deal with for a second.
Oftentimes, God will say no to what we do but He will tell us instead what He wants.
Now, let’s go back to the start of this entire story.
The whole point was that both brothers were supposed to be offering free will offerings TO GOD.
Not TO themselves.
Not TO their parents.
I emphasize this because our reaction and response to things that we are supposed to be presenting TO GOD reveals the motive behind our actions.
Somewhere along the line, Cain’s actions weren’t about God. For starts, he didn’t offer God what God required. Secondly, when corrected, he didn’t make the change.
That same point can be carried over into our relationships. The Word of God says that “obedience is better than sacrifice”. I’ll take it a step further.
Obedience is the highest form of honor and greatest display of love.
Jesus Himself said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments”.
When it comes to loving people, we have to love them the way THEY need to be loved, not the way we want them to be loved. There is a difference.
You can buy me a Ferrari and yes, it’s a great car and costs a lot of money. Folks on the outside would look and think it was a tremendous gift to give me.
But I am the mother of two small children. Since when does a Ferrari have enough room for two car seats?
So there’s a difference between giving someone something that you WANT them to have and giving them something that they appreciate.
There are things that God appreciates and respects. There are things that He loves and hates. As we walk with Him and grow in our relationship with Him, we must be willing to examine what we offer Him and adjust when needed. The love is in the adjustment because then you show that it’s really all about HIM.
When God told Cain “no”, he uncovered a murderer.
What does God uncover in us when He tells us “no”?
Sometimes there’s a lesson to be learned in the “no’s” of God.
Those lessons are almost always concealed within our responses and reactions.