Good Ideas Are Not Good Enough

Good ideas are no substitute for God’s ideas.

My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are that,

“good ideas are not good enough.”

Everyone makes mistakes. The key is to stop repeating the same ones. I have made my share of mistakes, and that’s probably just as true of others. Some mistakes I never recognized at the time. Probably there are still some I have not yet recognized to be mistakes. Some, I wished would just go away on their own. Some, I hoped no one would need to know about. And some, I tried to make up for in better ways. Thankfully, there are also those that I dealt with, and from which I learned. Mistakes can have a long shelf-life if not dealt with early and honestly. Mistakes, ignored and not dealt with, become more than they began. Repentance and confession is the proper way you do so.

My dearest of friends, Campbell, said, “Sin can only leave a person’s life one way, through one’s mouth, in honest confession of the wrong done.” There is good news. The Bible says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” 1 John 1:8-10 NKJV.

All mistakes are not sins – many are accidental, not willful. Others result from poor judgment, inadequate knowledge, or lack of experience. But every sin is certainly a mistake. Being truly free of them requires dealing with your mistake honestly and humbly. In confession and repentance, you can rectify sins before God, and with humility and apology correct mistakes with others. The Psalmist reminds us, “For [our Creator] knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103:14 NKJV.

Paul references an Old Testament story about Hagar and her son, Ishmael, a mistake that Abraham and Sarah made when their impatience became unbelief and disobedience about God’s promise of a son. Read Genesis 16:1-15. When Sarah was unable to provide a son, she proposed that her maidservant, Hagar, could be her surrogate. Abraham and Sarah wrongly assumed that her barrenness hindered God from fulfilling His promise. The child was named Ishmael. Ishmael was a terrible mistake. Sarah soon recognized and regretted her mistake, but too late to avoid or correct it.

God’s solution was clear and simple, but seems harsh though we know it was not. “Cast out the bondwoman and her son.” Galatians 4:30 NKJV. The future required that Abrham and Sarah separate themselves from their disobedience, however well intended they meant it to be. Your good ideas are never an acceptable substitute for God’s idea. And your ideas are not always as good as you think they are at the moment.

At first, Abraham pleaded with God to accept Ishmael as the promised son and heir, but God’s plan was for Isaac, not Ishmael. Read Genesis 15:1-6 NKJV. Don’t waste your time trying to convince God that your mistake isn’t such a bad idea. God is clear, “’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts [higher] than your thoughts.’” Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV. God’s solution was clear and direct, “Cast out the bondwoman and her son.” Galatians 4:30 NKJV. That was not punishment. That was God’s protection and provision for their future, and ours.

The Bible references dead works which can be anything born of your fleshly plans and desires, but not obedient to God’s instructions or dependent on God’s Spirit. The Bible contrasts, “repentance from dead works, and faith toward God,” when differentiating between immaturity and spiritual maturity. Read Hebrews 5:12-6:3 NKJV. I would describe a dead work as anything that God does not originate or will not sustain. What God did not originate, God will not bless. No matter how much you ask that He will, He can’t. Ishmael was a dead work, their bad idea that excluded faith toward God.

I learned that lesson some years ago. My “dead work” was a car I bought simply because I could, and I wanted to do so. I didn’t need it. I didn’t pray about it. I didn’t trust God to provide it. I just bought it. Very soon, my heart told me that I had made a mistake that God did not view lightly. Conviction of the Holy Spirit was very real. In my spirit, I felt that I had grieved the Holy Spirit by my casualness and carelessness. In my decision, there was no thought of prayer nor any consideration that my financial ability was the result of God’s provision and not my own to do with as I pleased.

I learned a valuable lesson. I learned the Biblical distinction between stewardship and ownership. We are not owners of what God gives. We are mere stewards. The Bible says, “It is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:3 NKJV. I choose to be a good steward.

I violated a basic principle of stewardship. God is the Owner of all. We are to be His obedient stewards. When I recognized and confessed my mistake as ungodly disregard and asked God’s forgiveness, only then did I find peace of mind and heart again. It is painful to cast away what your flesh craves or creates, until your love for God is superceding – a love even more than your desire for what you want, lest you hold tightly hold such things to your harm, or the harm of others.

Today I pray for you to avoid any mistake that you identify as even questionable.

Christian Communications 2018

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