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God as Fortune Cookie

I personally love Asian food (or at least the Americanized version of it)–Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, and everything in between. My taste buds appreciate it all!

At the end of the meal at so many of these places, you get a fortune cookie.  I know these weird little confections are not of Asian origin, but I have grown to like them nonetheless.

Some Christians refuse to look at or read them, but I do. I also understand that I’m not charting a course for my life based on what a vague saying on a slip of paper in my dessert says. What normally happens is when it says something I like then I’ll mentally agree. If it’s something that doesn’t make me instantly happy, I throw it on the table and reject it. Either way actually, I forget it in a matter of moments.

Sad to say, some of those same Christians who would refuse to read a fortune cookie would treat Him like I just described. In fact, we all have the capacity to do it.

We look to God when it suits us or when someone brings Him to us. We take the verse or promise we like and anything that doesn’t fit with our ideas, “personality,” or preferences we discard. What’s worse, so many of us forget all of it within a few minutes.

I’m guilty of wanting the easy way, the easy word, the easy blessing. I don’t want to walk in the wilderness, fast, give more than is comfortable, serve like He would… If we aren’t careful, we’ll end up simply searching the scriptures for something that just makes us feel a little better instead of pressing in to know His heart.

Isaiah 55 is a beautiful invitation, but we can miss the other side of His call if our hearts are hard.

“Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters;
And you who have no money come, buy and eat.
Come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without cost.
“Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And delight yourself in abundance. –Isaiah 55:1-2

Jump down a couple of verses…

Seek the Lord while He may be found;
Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
And let him return to the Lord,
And He will have compassion on him,
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon. –Isaiah 55:6-7

We don’t want to hear that God may not be available when we decide it’s convenient. We like our “way” and many of our unrighteous thoughts. Why do we have to give up all of it anyway? He invites us into a place of abundance in His presence, but He wants our hearts and for us to know His heart. We do give up something to know Him, but last time I checked, giving up something that is worth nothing to gain everything is very good deal.

I’m never going to have a relationship with a fortune cookie or  a horoscope or any other stupid means of trying to make myself feel better. God and His word have never aimed at being any of that. He reveals Himself to the hungry and He will even give the hunger. He pardons the one who comes and returns to Him. His word expresses His nature, character, and beauty.

Once we experience that Truth–it’s hard to walk away and even harder to forget.

What do you think? Ever treated God like a fortune cookie?

 

17 Comments

  1. Definitely been there done that but I don’t think there was a t-shirt to buy…… I understand the pull to find a word to suit our idea of what our need is, but unless we are truly seeking the need will never be satisfied. For some reason Isaiah 55 reminds me of a song ;-)
    Philip recently posted..Build One Another UpMy Profile

    • I’m just amazed how many times when I’m open to simply seeking how He directs so beautifully. I think it’s about one thing so I’m doing my best to pray that direction, but then He zags and says “This is what it’s really about.” I don’t want to live with pat answers and cliche, bumper sticker theology! Thanks Philip.

    • I had the song playing in my head, too when I was reading this!
      Helen recently posted..ToucheMy Profile

  2. In light of what God has been pounding me with this week, this verse just leaped out at me:

    “Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
    And your wages for what does not satisfy?

    I seemed to have missed the rest of your post after it…

    we read a verse like that, and we choose to ignore it, dismiss it, or accept it, apply it, and live it.

    Why? Indeed.
    Dusty Rayburn recently posted..The Eye of the NeedleMy Profile

    • It’s a good question, isn’t it? We let the wrong appetites define us when He is giving us the opportunity to live in wholeness and perfect freedom. Thank you, Dusty. I appreciate you.

  3. Maybe not a cookie but like a fast food checkout…for sure I have! Not proud of that but I have learned form those times. Just like fast food my life can get fat and lazy and unhealthy…fast!

    Thanks for the course correction bro’!
    Jay Cookingham recently posted..For Freedom’s SakeMy Profile

    • Fast food is definitely another great analogy for this type of thinking. “Unhelathy” sums it up! Thanks so much, Jay.

  4. Lately when I pray, the word I’ve been getting is love. He wants me to love Him. Obedience, prayer, etc are signs of that love, but the real from Him is love. Have I ever treated Him the fortune cookie maker instead of the source of all love? Yep. You bet. But that overcomplicates a relationship that should be so much more simple. I love Him. I’ll try to please Him. I will fall short, sometimes even intentionally, because I don’t love HIm entirely as I ought. He will love me anyway. I will love Him all the more for His powerful love.
    Helen recently posted..ToucheMy Profile

    • That’s so good, Helen. After everything else fades away, love will remain and He gives us the opportunity to experience that eternal love in the here and now. It changes us for sure! Thank you so much.

  5. Love Chinese food. Despise fortune cookies. Not the little sayings but the cookie itself, but i will sometimes read the tag. I think you are right in that many people treat God like that or like some genie in a magic bottle.
    bill (cycleguy) recently posted..TrustMy Profile

    • Now, there are good and bad fortune cookies (to eat). Sometimes they can sometimes be stale (probably sat on a shelf for 6 years) and sometimes they’re a weird flavor. I eat ‘em all though for some reason--even if it’s bad with the first half of it. I’m no quitter! :) Thanks Bill.

  6. Yeah, giving up the things that are worthless for the gifts of God is a pretty good deal.

    I’m fascinated by the people who treat God like a fortune cookie or Genie in a Bottle, as if we have power over the One who created and sustains us. I’ve come to find out the hard way that God loves a humble heart and opposes the proud. If we think God is at our whim, we’re in for a long fall from the tower of pride… the landing shakes the fool out of us though… Great thoughts, Jason. I like reading those dumb little papers too…

    • I guess it’s sort of like the guy who’s so loving, generous, and gracious that people want to take advantage of him--only with God, it doesn’t work out that way. He may allow it for a time while He attempts to get our attention, but it won’t remain like that. We are sons who command resources but we never command God! I like that: “the landing shakes the fool out of us though.” Nicely said! Thanks Floyd.

  7. unfortunatly…we do like to pick and choose what we like or don’t like in the bible…and run with it! Yikes!!!

    What I like to do is compare the forutne with scripture! it’s fun! and even more inspiring!
    Arny recently posted..Everything You Know is About To Become Real…My Profile

    • That’s true--the running with it is the scary part. Sorta like running with scissors! And I like your idea about comparing. Nice! Thanks Arny.

  8. I am definitely guilty of treating God like a fortune cookie. It is such an easy trap to fall in to if we are not careful. We must be seek Him first in all things and trust Him in all situations.
    Kevin Martineau recently posted..Our shortcomings do not make us a failureMy Profile

  9. I have the same attitude as you towards fortune cookies, except there was one that I kept and put in my bible. I was in a place in life where I was questioning the call God had for me and was out wi a friend at a Chinese restaurant chatting about it all. When I finally opened my fortune cookie,it said something along the line of: your feet will walk in many nations. I started tearing up. I don’t believe a fortune cookie can tell my future, but God does know me, and he knew exactly what I needed to hear that night to be reminded of every promise he has given me, it was that. And he wrote it down for me.
    Jason Vana recently posted..Straight on the PathMy Profile