Who do we think we are, Trying to Improve on God
Ah, the subtle art of people watching - a pastime beloved by many.
If you're one of those who delight in this observational hobby, you know there's no shortage of fascinating venues. Take the airport, for instance. It's a veritable theater of human variety. Here, a brief glance at someone's luggage, and you're playing a guessing game of origins. Guilty as charged, I've done it too!
- Round-faced Europeans bustling about - "Ah, must be Germans," I muse.
- Then there are the Scandinavians, with their oblong faces and predominantly light-colored hair, striding with a purpose that's neither too brisk nor too leisurely.
- And let's not forget the Dutch - their loud, joyous hellos and enthusiastic back-patting are a dead giveaway.
- Moving on, we have the Chinese, with their distinct hairstyles and less flashy attire
- compared to the impeccably dressed Japanese, who seem to have perfected the art of the whirlwind European tour.
But wait, before you raise an eyebrow, it's all in good fun! These are mere observations, a bit of harmless stereotyping - or 'profiling,' as it's called nowadays. It's a human instinct, really.
Now, let's get back to our people-watching escapade.
If you're up for a truly memorable experience, head to Austin. Oh, the garden centers there are a people-watcher's paradise! Picture us there: two seniors, another adult (whom I would've called middle-aged two decades ago), and three kids, all of us navigating a cart through the greenhouses, touching every plant in sight. We must've looked quite the sight ourselves in our jeans, t-shirts, caps, and sneakers.
Austin's motto, "Keep Austin Weird," really comes to life in these garden centers. You've got every character you can imagine - the earth-loving naturalist in rope sandals and tie-dye, the dedicated tree-hugger in hemp clothes, and the corporate executive meticulously planning their square-foot garden. And then there's us - the unmistakable country bumpkins, standing out like sore thumbs.
This brings me to a thought-provoking point. When we observe others, we see them as different and ourselves as the norm. But in reality, when others look at us, they're likely thinking the same! It's a curious human trait, this perspective. As Deuteronomy 32:3-5 poignantly reminds us, God's creation is flawless; it's we, His children, who sometimes stray and distort.
Deuteronomy 32:3-5 (CJB)
3 “For I will proclaim the name of Adonai. Come, declare the greatness of our God!
4 The Rock! His work is perfect, for all his ways are just. A trustworthy God who does no wrong, he is righteous and straight.
5 “He is not corrupt; the defect is in his children, a crooked and perverted generation.
So, does this mean we're the 'normal' ones and everyone else is 'abnormal'? Far from it! According to the scriptures, God's creations are perfect, but it's our human meddling that often leads to imperfections. Whether it's people-watching, admiring nature, or even getting poetic about it, it's incredible to witness God's wisdom in the diversity of His creations.
As we revel in the beauty of our garden coming together, let's take a moment to appreciate the marvels around us. Stand up, yes, right now, and look at each other. Extend a hand and say, "You are a blessed person, God made you beautiful." Easy to do with a spouse, but now, try it with a stranger. No, it's not flirting; it's recognizing the beauty of God's creation in every person.
But wait, what about those who don't fit our conventional standards of beauty?
Remember, God doesn't create junk. Many physical and mental conditions have underlying causes - environmental, genetic, or otherwise. Our meddling with nature, like in the case of GMOs, raises concerns about the future health of our children and grandchildren.
And on the topic of GMOs, yes, I'm quite particular about our veggies for this very reason. Why tamper with perfection? When God has created something, who are we to think we can improve upon it?
Hence, our foray into yuppy town in search of heirloom, non-GMO, organic seeds.
The shocking yet unsurprising discovery of pesticide traces in breast milk leads to a broader discussion. It's not just about the food we eat; it's about how we, as humans, often mess things up in our arrogance. We think we can do better than God, but time and again, we're proven wrong.
So, who do we think we are, trying to one-up God?
Tinkering with DNA, cloning plants, animals, and even humans – it's a slippery slope. The story of Noah, though distorted in modern retellings, serves as a reminder of the consequences of straying too far from God's path. Deuteronomy 6:14-17 warns us not to test God, yet here we are, doing just that.
Deuteronomy 6:14-17 (CEB)
14 Don’t follow other gods, those gods of the people around you— 15 because the Lord your God, who is with you and among you, is a passionate God. The Lord your God’s anger will burn against you, and he will wipe you off the fertile land. 16 Don’t test the Lord your God the way you frustrated him at Massah.17 You must carefully follow the Lord your God’s commands along with the laws and regulations he has given you.
As Christians, we're called to be discerning, to test the spirits, as 1 John 4:1-3 advises. Our world is filled with temptations and false teachings, pulling us away from God. It's a challenge to say no, not just to unhealthy foods, but to the myriad of influences that threaten to derail us from our spiritual path.
1 John 4:1-3 (CEB)
4 Dear friends, don’t believe every spirit. Test the spirits to see if they are from God because many false prophets have gone into the world. 2 This is how you know if a spirit comes from God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come as a human is from God, 3 and every spirit that doesn’t confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and is now already in the world.
In this genetically manipulated world, being a Christian isn't always easy. It means standing out, sometimes facing envy or persecution. But we know the path we're on and the rewards that await. It's time to stop following our own desires and align ourselves with Christ.
It is so well written in the “Treatise of the Faith” from the free will baptist church.
Perseverance of the Saints
There are strong grounds to hope that the truly regenerate will persevere unto the end, and be saved, through the power of divine grace which is pledged for their support; but their future obedience and final salvation are neither determined nor certain, since through infirmity and manifold temptations they are in danger of falling; and they ought, therefore, to watch and pray lest they make shipwreck of their faith and be lost.
Doctrine of the free will baptist church chapter 13
In our journey of faith, it is essential to recognize that we are not alone. Surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, we are encouraged to persevere in our spiritual race, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-4).
Hebrews 12:1-4 (AMP)
Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us,
2 Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [reckon up and consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds.
4 You have not yet struggled and fought agonizingly against sin, nor have you yet resisted and withstood to the point of pouring out your [own] blood.
Our challenge is to navigate a world increasingly shaped by human intervention, holding fast to our Christian identity.
It might not be easy in our Genetically Manipulated world, to be a Christian, we are not just ordinary people; we are children of God, followers of Christ, and filled with the Holy Spirit. Let's embrace our uniqueness, stand firm in our faith, and shine as beacons of God's love and wisdom in a world that desperately needs it.