Rationalizing is a powerful force in our lives. Here are a few examples:
- When we are prone to laziness, we say, “People need to learn to not be workaholics”.
- When we are out of shape and overweight, we say, “This world is obsessed with looks and outward appearance. Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks on the heart.”
- When we are not managing our money well, we say, “People who save are too preoccupied with money – they’re making an idol of their finances.”
- When we are not giving of our finances we say, “I tithe my time. Tithing is an OT principle. God wants us to be cheerful givers. Someday I’ll be able to give more but for now I can only give occasional leftovers cheerfully. But someday I’ll give more. After all God looks at our hearts more than our dollar amounts.”
- When we are not going to church faithfully we say, “Going to church doesn’t make one a Christian. I know a lot of people who don’t go to church who live a better Christian life than most church-goers. I still spend time with God on my own.”
- When our houses are a pig sty we say, “Well we have the lived in look here. I’m more relational with my kids. I am not going to be a cleaning Nazi!”
There are dozens of examples we could point to. But you get the picture. We have a knack for rationalizing some irresponsible behavior.
We need to guard against that. In 1 Samuel 15 we read of when God through Samuel told Saul to utterly wipe out the Amalekites…destroy everyone and everything! Saul and the people didn’t follow God’s orders. They did attack and defeat them. But they kept the king alive and took him captive. They took the best of the sheep and the oxen. Samuel confronted Saul. Saul said the people did keep the best of the sheep and oxen “to sacrifice to the LORD your God.” Samuel said to Saul, “Stop!” He told Saul how displeased God was. Saul still tried to rationalize and blame it on the people and claimed he had obeyed just not completely. And he rationalized again that they were going to give some of the sheep and oxen to the Lord.
Samuel said, “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice.” Do you have an area in your life where you’ve been rationalizing instead of obeying. Pray to God to help you resist the urge to rationalize and to have the strength to obey what you know God wants you to do.