Former university professor of marketing and communications, Sallie is an independent publisher and marketing communications consultant.
As Christians, we answer to authority. Just as when we were children we answered to the authority of our parents, as Believers in the Christian faith, we are part of the family of man but we answer, ultimately, to the authority of God, our Creator. How do we know for certain that we are under God’s authority? Because the Bible tells us so.
Because we accept the Bible as the inerrant word of God, it is the blueprint for our lives--our “instruction manual” for living. We don’t get to pick and choose from the manual what part or parts of God’s word we will obey, and we are not allowed to use God’s word deceitfully. In other words, we are on earth for God to use us, for His purpose--not so that we can use God for our purposes.
Is Our Heavenly Father Angry With Us?
Sometimes, the word of God can seem to be "harsh" in the way it is presented to us. But, once you consider the seriousness in which the words are offered, it is much easier to understand the loving nature of the offering and the sternness that is used in presenting it. For example, in Deuteronomy 29:18, the Bible warns us about misuse of God’s word. This scripture tells us:
"Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood; And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst: The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven.”
The language of the passage might seem harsh or stern, but it gets the message across, clearly. And it's not God’s anger against us that I hear. Rather, I feel God’s love for us speaking. He is simply telling us to serve Him, and not the world. He is asking us to pay heed to the sinful nature of our flesh, because it is deceitful. He is warning us of the consequences of disobedience to Him while ordering us to do the right things, and while placing emphasis on the consequences of doing the wrong things. Any good parent who wants his/her child to obey will emphasize to that child the consequences of disobedience in an effort to spare the child from having to face those consequences.
God knows that sinful desires dwell in our imagination, and that they hide in our misguided minds and hearts urging us to to desire drunkenness for thirst. The inspired words of the Bible are clear: When we fail to heed God’s warnings about what will happen when we turn toward the world and away from Him, we are unleashing cursed consequences upon ourselves, just as it is written in the Bible. Ultimately, if we continue to disobey and remain away from God, He will turn away from us, and He will not know us.
Are God's Children Prone Toward Disobedience?
God gives us the freedom to make decisions about what we do. Just as He gave Adam and Eve the freedom of choice, and they chose to listen to the serpent and not to God, He gives us the same freedom. We can choose to obey or not.
Even though I'm not a parent, I've seen how the consequences of a child's disobedience can wreak havoc in the lives of families. I've seen within my own family how a mother's heavy, prayer-filled heart, burdened for decades with the task of trying to help a child gone astray, finally, has to let go. The child, no longer a child or even a young adult, is intent on going her own way, fully understanding the consequences of sinful living and of being disobedient, of using drugs and living on the street, of turning to prostitution as a way of life, of not honoring the wisdom and the authority of a loving parent. The parent, left physically weak and broken from more than 20 years of living with unceasing worry and deeply felt fear for the child's life, develops life-threatening health concerns. Still, the parent struggles to help the child, until there is nothing left to do but to let go; to realize that the time has come to turn away from the child.
As children, we are naturally prone to be disobedient. Led by our flesh-focused minds, our naturally rebellious nature tempts us to defy authority. Our parents' instructions, cautions, warnings and directives are often met by a strong-willed and defiant spirit that feels almost compelled to disobey. When we disobey God, just as when we disobey our earthly parents, we bring trouble into our lives and into the lives of our parents. We set ourselves up to suffer immediate and long-term consequences of not heeding the warnings of authority. And, the very act of being disobedient toward parental authority helps to fuel within us a disobedient spirit, one that will continue to find it easier and easier to rebuke the loving cautions and warnings of parental authority inside the home, and legal authority outside of the home.
God's Parameters for Adult Christians
Our Heavenly Father, in His infinite wisdom, gives us the freedom to live our lives, to pursue and to experience joy in everything that He created, but cautions us to live under His authority, accepting His wisdom as our guidance. This is God’s way of telling us He wants nothing but the best for us as we live our lives. He wants us to know that living beyond the parameters of His way for us is dangerous, indeed. He wants us to know that danger, or sin, is always there waiting for us, tempting and tantalizing us to desire our way instead of God’s way. It was present in the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve desired to go their own way, instead of God’s way. It was present when Cain became jealous of Abel’s ability to please God with his work. God warned Cain, in Genesis 4:7, saying “. . . if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.” God knew Cain’s jealous heart, and He knew that if Cain followed the desires of his heart, He would surely sin. Throughout the Old and the New Testament, we can find many examples of the consequences of choosing our way instead of God's way.
The bottom line is that God gives us free will, and with that free will comes choices. Choices become alternatives, and with alternatives come consequences. God didn’t create us to be robots. Instead, he created us as sentient beings, equipped with intellect, powers of discernment, intuition, and will. Because He loves us, He created us to experience only love and goodness in life. But mankind, the created, disobeyed God and opened the world up to sin. By not submitting to God's authority, by choosing disobedience over obedience, mankind sinned. And now sin—which operates under the power of Satan—rules the earth.
God still desires, however, for us to have a way to transcend the ultimate power of sin—which is death. Because Jesus lived, there is a way for us to transcend death, and to enjoy everlasting life. But to get there, we have to accept God's authority, and with that comes the desire to live our lives for God.
© 2013 Sallie B Middlebrook PhD
Sallie B Middlebrook PhD (author) from Texas, USA on March 23, 2013:
You're forgiven, celafoe. I know you didn't mean it, and I'm still grateful to you for reading and for commenting on the article, and for sharing your story. Thanks again.
charlie from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth in between the oceans on March 22, 2013:
Please forgive me i got carried away, I did not mean to try to add to your pain. I am sorry
Sallie B Middlebrook PhD (author) from Texas, USA on March 22, 2013:
Hi again, celafoe.
I am confident that within 20+ years of praying and believing and referencing Holy Scripture, my sibling (and all the rest of us in my family who were praying for the parent and the child) did as much as anyone can do to reference scripture.
You should not assume you did more than someone else did, just because your situation turned out differently. God doesn't answer every prayer in the same way.
In addition, you made your assumption without having all the facts. I only shared certain details of this story, but you made the presumption that my sibling had not done all that could have been done, and that you did do all you could, for your situation. That was an unfair presumption on your part.
Thanks again for reading and I do appreciate what you were trying to say. You're right, of course, we all need to reference scripture and make sure we're doing all we can for ourselves, under God's authority. But I still believe there comes a time when you must "let go and let God." I'll always believe that, no matter what. I have no doubt (and you did not raise any doubt within me) that it was the right thing for my sibling to do.
charlie from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth in between the oceans on March 21, 2013:
Sorry for your loss.
two things I must correct in your reply,
I never said and never do and do not believe in let go and let God. Unless and Until all applicable scriptures have been followed exactly as prescribed.. then do what is required, usually wait.
and for this
"I know there is scripture for that, and for every other issue/problem on earth. Nothing is too big for our God, but sometimes things do get to be too much for us humans to bear. "
Scripture says He will not put more on us than we can bear.
Sallie B Middlebrook PhD (author) from Texas, USA on March 21, 2013:
Thank you so much for your comments, celafoe. Your response is the length of a Hub article, so I can see you feel passionate about this topic.
I am also passionate about this, which is why I wrote and published this Hub. There's one thing I must correct your thinking about, however. You wrote: "The example you mentioned the mother worn out after 20 years .I will tell you,She was worn out and discourged because she did not follow scripture ."
Nothing could be farther from the truth. The parent in this case was a devoted Christian who followed scriptural guidance. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to "let go and let God," and that is exactly what this parent did.
You also wrote: "You said a child gone astray. That means that child knew the difference and willingly departed from God's ways. There is scripture for that."
I know there is scripture for that, and for every other issue/problem on earth. Nothing is too big for our God, but sometimes things do get to be too much for us humans to bear. This adult child was well informed and knowledgeable about right vs. wrong, based on scriptural teachings. This adult child was raised in a Christian home, and chose to live a rebellious life and to turn away from God.
The parent was a sibling of mine who is now departed due to the health problems I mentioned in the article. I believe my sibling did the right thing; and we use the same Bible that you use. According to what you said in your comments, you also "let go and let God," no matter how you phrased it. It is a sound, scripture-guided tactic, and it was the right thing for my sibling to do, to have at least some peace in those final months of life.
It is awesome, as you stated, "to see the things God will do if we will believe Him."
charlie from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth in between the oceans on March 21, 2013:
the problem is that not 1 church in 1000 teaches the scriptural way to handle all things. and most people professing to be Christians do not go to scripture to understand how to handle tough situations. and if they do they are usually talked out of implementing them by a spouse or friend or pastor that does not understand that scripture. Most of the solutions in scripture are too ""severe"" for the modern liberal understandings.
an example from your post.
The example you mentioned the mother worn out after 20 years .I will tell you,She was worn out and discourged because she did not follow scripture . You said a child gone astray. That means that child knew the difference and willingly departed from God's ways. There is scripture for that.
It seems before I can minister the word, that God requires me to live it out myself. Let me say I speak from hundreds of examples of personally following scripture and I say without exception that EVERY TIME God responded by taking care of the situation. and usually much sooner than I expected.
1 Cor 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
There comes a time to do this, and God will confirm when. It does not matter if it is my child or yours, there is no partiality in the things of God. Let me explain This is a very short version of the story. There are many more lessons that occurred during this that are not mentioned here
I had a child that went astray after being taught the right way. Even the law was chasing him. I prayed for a while and then when the Lord said it was time to stop praying I did not know what to do so I went to the scripture and found this scripture. I prayed about it and then said to God, but that is my son. He said what if he was not your son? I then said ok God I understand i will do it. Here is what I prayed. Jesus I am going to turn him over to the devil for the destruction of his flesh that his soul may be saved. And, Lord i am not telling you what to do I am asking , if I have any pull with you that you not allow him to be killed or maimed, also I would like him to come through me on his way back. Lord do what you have to and if you see fit to fulfill my request I will be grateful but either way i will praise you. Then I stopped praying for him and would not allow anyone in my house to.
Things started happening at once. I received a letter telling me not to blame myself, that he made his choice and I was not to take it as my fault. Then I got a letter from a man many states away saying my son had told him to call me because he was needing help and that I could help him. When I called the man my son answered the phone, I made like I did not recognize him and he quickly went to get the man . After talking to the man for a while, I went to the phone and called the sheriff to report where he was. He was not there when they arrived. After a few weeks , I was ministering in another state I got a phone call that my son was trying to find me and that he needed to talk to me right away. That night I called the number that they gave me. When he answered first he asked me to forgive him, then said I have to get my life right with God, and you and the law. I sent him the money to come home . What happened in court were UNBELIEVEABLE MIRACLES. He did what said he would and is great Christian family man today.
My son told me when it was over that the things that most people would hate me for were the things that cause him to have so much respect for me. That I treated him as I would any one else, no partiality. And that I told the cops where to find him. He agreed that if I had not have followed the scripture he may not have made it, but that God just would not leave him alone.
Doing it God's way may hurt but it sure hurts less than seeing a loved one go to the lake of fire.
Did you notice that God honored all of my requests, he came back through me, he was not maimed and he was alive , well and changed.
It is awesome to see the things that God will do if we will believe Him and do exactly what his word says in every situation. If we ask for Bread, He does not give us a stone, but usually the bread and a piece of pie. Much more than we asked for or deserve.
I pray this will help someone in need of encouragement and understanding today.