“You do your part, I’ll do mine.” That’s the deal we make with God. “I’ll be a good guy. I’ll come to church. I’ll give money. I’ll serve you but in the end, you need to come through for me too. And if you don’t?! Well then, the deals off. I’ll marry someone who’s not a Christian, or sleep around, or cheat, or just quit coming to church and serving you, and talking about you, and giving, and being nice, or being cooperative or …..” That’s the deal Christians often make with God. There is only one problem; God doesn’t make deals like that.
A god who makes deals is not the God who says to us, “Take up your cross and follow me.” That’s not the God who says, “I will not yield my glory to another.” Any one can give God glory, and be happy, and follow Christ as a result of an easy life. A pagan can say, “Wow, I’m happy I’m not sick with cancer, have a great spouse, make a lot of money, got over that relational hick up, etc, etc, etc.” It’s quite another thing to keep your relationship with God intact after you’ve been raped or sexually molested, or after your spouse has died when your 35 years old and left you with three kids, or your family rejects you for your faith, or you lose your job, or you are sued for some accident that’s really not your fault and it puts your life on a downward spiral, or you are rejected at school because you’re a Christian, or your kids go sideways on you even after you’ve done a decent job raising them, or you were honest and got in trouble while someone else cheated and got away with it, or whatever. See what I mean? Then the deal with God becomes another thing altogether. Then it gets really personal. Because now, Christ isn’t being followed because he’s making life easy, but simply because he’s Christ, because he’s God, because he’s glorious and beautiful and lovely.
When you live for Christ without the deal, when you say, “Thy will be done,” not “My will be done,” then God really gets the glory. When you, as an act of faith, obey or serve or give, even when its hard and hurts, then whatever happens to you, as you submit and surrender to him, he gets glory, he gets honor and he gets praise. He gets to be God and he’s shown for who he is really is in the eyes of those who watch your life. And in the long haul, who knows, life may work out differently than you ever imagined.
On the cross Jesus showed us what true submission and surrender is. In the Passion event, Jesus let God the Father be God the Father. In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus asked the Father to let the events of the passion pass from him, “Father, let this cup pass from me,” he requested. But in the end, his deal with the Father was what it had been all along: “I can only do what I see the Father doing” (John 5:19). In other words, the Father has the final say. God is not a negotiator. Let’s all consider saying, “Regardless of what happens, despite it all, thy will be done!” That’s the deal with God.