Emo Philips once quipped: “When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realized that the Lord doesn’t work that way, so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me.”
In his book, Living the Lord’s Prayer, author David Timms writes, “we might smile at his rationalization, but many of us believe that it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. We presume upon the goodwill of God and others. And such thinking can produce a lax discipleship. It results in what Dallas Willard describes as ‘sin management.’ That is, we manage our sin just enough to live our own way without riling up God too much, like children who know just how far to push their parents before they cross the line.”
Playing Chicken with God
Chicken is a game for adolescent poultry and idiots.
Collins online dictionary defines the game of chicken as engaging “in mutual challenges or threats, hoping the opponent will withdraw before actual conflict or collision.”
Presuming on God’s good will after challenging Him to a contest is worse than ignorant; it’s a perfect example of the blatant sin of presumption. It assumes that God will blink before you get flattened. Playing chicken places bets with odds based solely on your perspective.
All sin affects your eternity, from the least to the greatest. Anyone who plays chicken with God is already in big trouble, but that presumption thing makes it an enhanced crime. It’s a biggie, a sin that taunts God, smugly believing He’ll either miss it or won’t care.
Presumption is Enhanced Sin
Presumption means the same thing as arrogance, effrontery, insolence, gall and audacity. It ain’t good. In fact, it’s insubordinate and figuratively spits in someone’s face.
I don’t recommend such brazen behavior when the object of your disdain is the King of Kings, Creator of the Universe, and the Judge of your eternity.
Three Issues with Insolent Repentance
- You can’t fool a horse and you can’t fool God. Only fools try.
- God is not REQUIRED to forgive just because someone speaks an incantation. That’s pagan. Wrong God.
- Knowledge of guilt is a big problem. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know no what they do.” Stephen said the same thing as stones drove him to his knees (Acts 7:60). Emo Philips problem is that he knew full well that what he did was willful self-indulgent sin. He was without excuse.
Mercy is extended only after you confess your wrong doing and agree to accept whatever punishment is meted out. Without complaint. (Jonah 3:9)
Flippant Repentance is an Oxymoron
Confession of sin cannot be casual. Repentance cannot be flippant. The qualities of repentance are regret, shame, and remorse. God honors such confession.
This phrase, uttered from contrite and sincere lips, acknowledges a specific sin, invites its crucifixion, and awaits resurrection. It also affirms the commitment to foster a culture of grace—offering freely to others what we ourselves desire and receive from the Father.
Related post: Why God Does What He Does