Playing Chicken With God – Presumption and Repentance


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.

He cares.

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.

“For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.”

1 Samuel 15:23


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.

“Forgive me.”

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.


I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.

Acts 26:19-20

Related post: Why God Does What He Does

An Engaging and Timely Challenge for Christians

This is the perfect opportunity to challenge your beliefs. Invest some time in this Bible study offering new questions and perspective on the times we live in. On March 11, 2011, I received the assignment to write Rapture and Revelation, introduced with an 11-word message.

That short message changed the direction of a ministry and guides readers into a study of “in that day.” This book doesn’t tell you what to believe, but refuses to leave itching ears in peace. If you’re willing, you’ll discover why you believe as you do.

And that is the beginning of revival.

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Lynn Baber

Lynn Baber

Lynn Baber is a best-selling Christian author, speaker, and coach helping kingdom-minded people accomplish God's unique purpose for them to advance His kingdom on earth. "Revival is doable!" She's also a retired World and National Champion horse trainer and breeder.

Lynn Baber

Lynn Baber

Lynn Baber is a best-selling Christian author, speaker, and coach who helps people accomplish God's unique purpose for them and advance His kingdom on earth. She's also a retired World and National Champion horse trainer and breeder.

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