“Do not imitate the falsely pious, inventing laws and ordinances. They venerate their rules, and fail to fully observe even one of them. They heap burdens on the necks of their followers, without attempting to live by the same rules. They go to great lengths to be seen, dressing in extravagant clothing, and behaving with great ceremony. They love to sit at the head tables, or on the front row, and to be called esteemed, or learned teacher. Refuse to be called esteemed or master; for you have only one master, and you are all his brothers and sisters.” –Jesus
Essentially, there are two ways to achieve good ends: Trust in God, or, trust in man.
The movie The Butterfly Effect, dramatically illustrates the difficulty, no, the impossibility of willing righteousness. Realizing the harm his actions have caused people close to him, the protagonist discovers he has the ability to go back in time to change his behaviors or try to persuade others to change theirs. It matters little how good his intentions, his many attempts to fix problems he has created only lead to more destruction [reasonably happy movie ending aside.]
The reality, however, is that we are not capable of knowing how every nuance of thought and action sets in motion chains of events that quickly go beyond human capability of controlling.
But that never seems to deter public officials from trying.
The Affordable Health Care Law, aka Obamacare, for example, with its 20,000 pages of regulations, attempts to anticipate every possible probability of health related incident. To illustrate, there are two insurance billing codes for duck attacks! One code for being bitten by a duck and one for being struck by a duck! My wife and granddaughter were chased by a momma goose one day while riding horseback near her nest … haven’t found the code for that one yet!
What we are capable of knowing is that faith in God assures good outcomes! This knowledge comes only through obedience beginning with the smallest steps – not unlike stepping out onto the ice. Facts only about frozen-ness don’t enliven faith nearly as much as when hope turns to certainty and the feelings of solidity and weight bearing become experience. Most often we are unaware that that experience and the feelings you enjoy in the moment are, in fact, making you more solid as a human being as it strengthens your faith in God!
“It – faith in action – is the one spiritual act which brings the man into contact with the original creative power, able to help him in every endeavor after righteousness, and ensure his progress to perfection." –George MacDonald
But it is much easier to regulate behavior than faith! And so good intentions quickly become "burdens heaped” on those who foolishly put their trust in man’s ability to give security and protection from the difficulties of life. Foolish because they fail to see the falseness of the fixes: The purveyors of pretentious policies won’t even abide their own.
Godly, wise men started this country. Prosperity flourished because they understood how vital obedient faith is to our moral fiber and how vital moral fiber is in discerning good from evil. Quite simply, it is good to trust in a God who loves and cares for us and who uses the circumstances of life to shape responsible, good character in us; it is evil to trust in anything else, especially those who would try to persuade us that they have a better way – a way destructive to our character but good for their own gain.
Beware the Attack Duck!
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