I’m thinking about God’s best lately. What does it look like for a believer in Jesus Christ? If we are encountering God and experiencing His best for us, do we continue to have a gnawing sense of dissatisfaction with who we are, where we are or what we are doing in our present state? When things get complex, sometimes I like to revert to simpler times when things just seemed to make sense, honesty didn’t have a filter or agenda and I could see things plain as day. In many cases, I’m brought back to Denver.
Some of my favorite memories of summer in Denver have to do with an amazing amusement park just down the road from my grandmother’s house. There was no place like Elitch Gardens (Elitch’s for those in the know) for a kid during summer vacation in Denver. The Splinter, the Wildcat, Mr. Twister, all of these rides guaranteed great fun and cemented my love for roller coasters.
It made a mark on me and I made a mark on it for a long time, making sure to stick a piece of gum to the portion of the log ride where every kid and immature adult seemed to leave offerings. For me and many other North Denver kids, Elitch’s had no equal; even though Lakeside Amusement Park tried it’s best, for a cheaper price.
You know those generic/store brands posing as your favorite beverage, for example, Dr. K instead of Dr. Pepper or Green Lightning instead of Mountain Dew? That was Lakeside. I couldn’t always afford admission to Elitch’s, so I spent more time at Lakeside wishing I was at Elitch’s, for one reason in particular.
Lakeside featured something that could scare a kid into wanting summer vacation to end, the Laughing Sal. Sal was an animated, automatic character standing what looked like 7 feet tall. It adorned the top of the Funhouse, looked like a female clown and had a laugh that you could hear from Red Rocks.
The Funhouse beckoned kids to come near, but Sal seemed to accomplish the opposite. Nobody under 12 wanted to go near that thing. It made small babies cry and I think even the older kids and adults found it weird. It made Elitch’s look that much better.
I liken this to settling for less than God’s best. Sometimes we think we are doing the best thing but there is a gnawing sense of something wrong. Though the Funhouse of our own desire beckons for us to enter, there is a Laughing Sal warning us off, saying this is no place for you, because to go down this particular road is the equivalent of a knock-off, a counterfeit, a false version of what potentially awaits you should you decide to follow God’s lead.
I believe God gives us warnings, just like a Laughing Sal, when we are nearing a decision to do for ourselves other than doing for His glory.
The Bible Can Serve As A Warning
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
“As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.” – Psalm 18:30
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” – Matthew 4:4
Wise Believers Can Serve As Our Warning
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17
“That is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” – Romans 1:12
“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” – Proverbs 13:20
Your Time With The Lord Can Serve As A Warning
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” – Philippians 4:6
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” – Romans 8:26
“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” – Matthew 26:41
If you are searching for God’s best and do not want to engage anything less, but still fight the daily battles of convenience, familiarity and worldly gain, let the gnawing feeling awaken you to what God desires for you as it relates to bringing Him glory and not satisfying your desire.
How are you determining God’s best for you today?