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No bail out needed

Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. (Luke 11:13)

Do you bargain with God? You know what I mean - those little prayers where you promise to do something if God does something you need him to do. It is never wrong to ask God to intervene when we need help, but have you ever stopped to consider if the 'mess' you need help in might have been avoided if you'd have spent a little more time 'up front' asking God if this was the direction you were to take in the first place? I know I am guilty of plunging ahead and then stepping back at some point wondering how on earth I "missed God" along the way! The truth is that I didn't miss him - he wasn't there to be found! It was a path he had advised me to not take in the first place - so when I took it, it was like he was just standing there waiting for me to realize I needed to turn around! That is how I get into those 'bargaining moments' with God - "Get me out of this mess I got myself into and I will...." Have you been there?

To bargain with implies we are haggling with God - we are looking for a 'good deal' out of a lousy situation. We are attempting to negotiate our way into a better spot because the one we are in is just not measuring up to what we expected. I have found I need to be direct with God - admit I got myself into the mess and then listen closely to what he answers when I ask him how I could have avoided the mess in the first place. Chances are he will show me a multitude of subtle compromises along the way that I made and the times when I ignored his subtle, but consistent niggling to stop before I went down the path. Did you notice I said "I" made the mess and "I" ignored his urges? More often than not I have come to God at the end of all those "I" moments and admitted how much "I" created a big mess of things in my life. That isn't the moment to 'bargain with' God, though - there is nothing I have in that place that I can 'negotiate' with, is there?

God isn't going to play a cat-and-mouse game with us when we come to him for his wisdom concerning any course we are about to take. He is straight-forward with us - showing us where our motives are not aligned with his and how our heart will lead us astray if we continue to take the actions we are about to undertake. I believe some of us believe this life with Jesus is kind of like a 'contract' of sorts. If we meet this stipulation in the 'contract', then God will fulfill the contract in some manner. While our relationship with God is based upon a covenant, it is not a 'stipulated agreement'. In fact, it was entirely God's part that made the 'covenant' active and binding. Nothing we 'do' makes this a binding contract - it is entirely God's action on our part to give his Son for our sins and then to allow his blood to meet the required 'elements' of the 'covenant contract'. Jesus' shed blood met the conditions of the covenant - so even his covenant with us isn't based upon US.

Instead of bargaining (negotiating, haggling) with God maybe we need to just stop long enough to listen to his voice - his prompting, niggling, or urging. We might just find we don't feel like we need to 'bargain with' him because we realize there is much more reward in hearing his voice up front - negating the need to get with God to bail us out when we find we are facing stuff we didn't expect to encounter. There is much more reward in waiting upon God's timing than to turn back to him telling him we need a 'bail out'. Just sayin!

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