So… What’s your favorite book of the Bible?
If you have been a Christian longer than a day, more than likely someone has asked you this question… (Or maybe that’s just what my nerdy Jesus self talks to my friends about…)
Regardless… Have you thought about it lately? What IS your favorite book?
Some might say any of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John) because it tells the epic story of our Lord and Savior. Other’s might really dig on Psalms or Proverbs, because it is ancient wisdom/encouragement/songs that apply to us even today in 2013. Yet others could mention Philippians, Galatians, 1 Thessalonians and the like due to the super cool insight that Paul is throwing down.
My favorite book?
First and Second Rationalizations.
Wait a second…
Good catch there. “Rationalizations” aren’t books of the Bible– but friends, you better believe it, I sure find myself turning to them more often than not.
Now, this is not an original Sharita idea… Bret Pyle of Blackaby Ministries International mentioned this as an illustration at a conference I was attending– but the concept of a “Book of Rationalizations” in our Christian walk has stuck with me ever since.
Webster’s definition of rationalization is as follows:
Rationalization~ to ascribe (one’s acts, opinions, etc.) to causes that superficially seem reasonable and valid but that actually are unrelated to the true, possibly unconscious and often less creditable or agreeable causes.
In plain English, to rationalize is to make excuses that kinda sorta seem to be related to the issue/topic at hand… but really aren’t.
If you think about it, we probably rationalize in many areas of our lives, not just our walk with Christ. We say that since we parked a little farther away from the Wal-Mart door, that we can have an extra big slice of chocolate cake for dessert that night. Uh, nice try. Or we rationalize why we yelled at our husband/kids/the innocent check-out person by deciding that we were just having a bad day and they provoked us/deserved it. Again, no bueno.
When it comes to walking with Jesus, our “Book of Rationalizations” is probably referenced more than we think. We decide to sleep in on Sunday instead of getting up and going to church by telling ourselves that “One Sunday won’t matter” or that “Sunday is the day of rest, Jesus would want us to sleep.” (Kind of a stretch, don’t you think?)
We skip out on our quiet time saying that we are too busy and that we plan to do our “Jesus duty” by commenting on someone’s Facebook status “praying for you!” Or we say that because we are participating in a church event tomorrow, that is like spending time with God so we don’t need quiet time.
Or we cut our tithe short, saying that “This month I ‘need’ <you fill in the blank with the ‘need’ here> … God wants me to be happy/knows I ‘need’ it, so it won’t matter this time, right?”
Sigh. Oh our rationalizing brains. Gah.
Today’s post is not to condemn or make you feel guilty– not at all. But just to bring awareness. I still do it sometimes… or at least I catch myself trying to rationalize my action until I hear God clearing His throat…. “Ahem… Sharita… yeah, how bout you try that again?”
Mmmkkk, God. Sorry. My bad.
Instead of spending our time in the Book of Rationalizations, we can spend our time in the REAL word of God. The more we do that, the better we come to know Him, and the less we desire to rationalize our way through walk with Christ.
In what areas of your life do you find you rationalize the most? How can we as Christ-followers avoid the enemy’s trap of rationalizing our way through life? If you are feeling bold… comment below!
Be encouraged, my friends. Most (if not all) of us struggle with this issue of rationalizing our actions. It’s human nature. But we can cling to the truth that if Christ is in us and we seek Him with all our heart, our actions are sure to follow.
And THAT my friends, is a book you will never want to put down.
Reading between the lines,
“We justify our actions by appearances; God examines our motives.” ~Proverbs 21:2 MSG