DAY 34 | HARSH OR DEMANDING

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The one who had received one talent also came forward, saying, “Master, I knew you to be a harsh and demanding man, reaping the harvest where you did not sow and gathering where you did not scatter seed. So I was afraid to lose the talent, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is your own.”

Matthew 25:24-25

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What is God like to you? Is He harsh, condemning and out to get you? Is He very demanding? As you go through your day today, will your mind be filled with positive or negative views of God? And who you think God is—are you certain you know that for sure?

We now get a clear understanding of why this last servant buried his $1.25 million instead of investing it. We understand why he chose to bury these riches and return back to being a slave in the field. His view of the master was all wrong. We see in the servant’s response that he “knew”—or was so certain—that the master was one way when in fact he was the exact opposite. Nevertheless, because of the view this human had of his master, it lead to an action that had huge ramifications.

Even though the master has already been super generous by entrusting these finances to a slave, the slave still had a warped view of God. Isn’t amazing that even though Jesus came from heaven and put on flesh, died a horrific death, took our sins upon Himself, rose again and gave us a deposit of Himself—His grace, His Holy Spirit—we still can have a wrong view of God! We can all relate to this last servant who believed a lie about God. Whether it’s through family, upbringing, media, friends or our own filters because of our fallen nature, we all think things about God that are just not reality. The danger of this is a lot higher than we know because, as Augustine said, “Belief dictates behavior.” This last slave acted out of a belief about his master, and in so doing, only embedded his slavery even further.

We have the potential to do the same. Through a wrong filter of who God is, we behave in a certain way and can bury grace instead of living in our purchased freedom. Because of this slave’s wrong view, he said he was afraid, and so he was bound up on the inside.

If we see God as cruel, demanding, harsh and out to get us, we can easily fall into a cycle of living by the flesh, no longer living by the investment of the Holy Spirit. We need a right view of God; we need a transformation of how we see Him today. Paul the apostle, in Romans 12:1-2, appeals to us, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."

As we trust who God is according to who He’s revealed Himself as in Jesus Christ—seen in His word, “He is the visible image of an invisible God” (Colossians 1:15)—our minds can be transformed to see who He truly is, and out of the overflow of this new view of God we can decipher what His will is: that we act on the investment of the Holy Spirit and live by the grace that He has gifted to us, rather than by the flesh. The word became flesh so that our flesh could become like the word—and all this happens through Jesus Christ.

He is not out to get you, but He is out to bless you—bless you with Himself, a deposit of what is to come, His Holy Spirit living in you, working in you the freedom you have desired and longed for and have groaned for. "And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23).

// Pastor Josh Kelsey