We’ve all done it—thought of reasons why doing the opposite of what we know God says is OK … this time.
Here are some common excuses for disobedience, and why they won’t fool the Father.
Excuses For Not Doing What God Tells You To Do
Excuse 1 “I’ll Do It Later.”
When God prompts you to do it now—tell a friend about Him, deal with a persistent sin, send an encouraging note, spend time with Him—telling Him “later” is the same as saying no. “Later” may be too late for the good that God intended when He urged you to act.
Jeremiah tried this one. When God told him He was calling him as a prophet, Jeremiah replied, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child” (Jer. 1:6). God’s response to Jeremiah is His response to us: “Don’t make excuses; just obey. Don’t be afraid, because I will be with you in everything I ask you to do.”
What can be more important than what God is instructing you to do? Claiming, “I’m too busy” is putting your agenda ahead of God’s.
Excuses For Doing What God Says Not To Do
Excuse 4 “It Won’t Hurt Anything.”
God told the Israelites that His commands were “for your own good” (Dt. 10:13). Only He knows the chain of results our disobedience will set in motion. We need to trust His judgment, not our own.
God will know. Every sin damages both our relationship with Him and our own conscience.
God never said sin was OK if you only do it once. Besides, submitting to the flesh rather than to the Spirit strengthens the wrong forces in your life, making it more likely that you will do it again.
When we’re disappointed with our lives, we can begin to think, God didn’t come through for me, so why should I come through for Him? We may stop doing the things we know He wants us to do, and not worry too much about breaking His commandments.
God says, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Heb. 13:5); He will always remain faithful to us (2 Tim. 2:13); and His plan for us is for our good (Jer. 29: 11). We need to acknowledge that our perspective is limited and that our painful circumstances and unanswered prayers are part of a larger, grander plan. Learning to trust His Word when it contradicts our perceptions, feelings, and experiences can keep us from excusing our disobedience by blaming Him.
When we’ve been working hard on the job or in ministry, it can be tempting to justify taking something that’s not rightfully ours—whether it’s money, goods, or time that belongs to our employer but is spent on personal projects. Or, we blow off something God prompts us to do because we’ve “paid our dues.”
In 2 Kings 5, the prophet Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, figured he was entitled to a little reward for ministry. His master had turned down a gift from a wealthy warrior, but Gehazi returned, behind Elisha’s back, and requested a few “perks” from the man. God struck Gehazi with leprosy.
God never “rewards” obedience by allowing disobedience.
Sometimes we try to make ourselves feel better about our sin by comparing it to someone else’s. “I may flirt with my secretary, but at least I’m not sleeping with her.” “I may ‘fudge’ a little on my taxes, but I would never embezzle money.”
Jesus tells the story of a Pharisee who compared himself to others. The religious man prayed, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers.” Yet Jesus commended instead the tax collector who prayed, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner” (Lk. 18:9, 14). Repentance is the only attitude toward sin that God accepts.
It’s tempting to violate our consciences, to give in a little on our convictions, when we see others doing things we feel uneasy about. It’s especially tempting when “others” are believers we respect. Yet what is right and wrong is never determined by popular vote—”It is the Lord who judges” (1 Cor. 4:4). We must listen to the inner voices that tell us what is right and wrong, not the outer ones.