Reverend Dr. William H. Curtis

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Tell the Israelites this: 'You have seen for yourselves that I have spoken to you from heaven: Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold. "'Make an altar of earth for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, your sheep and goats and your cattle. Wherever I cause my name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you. If you make an altar of stones for me, do not build it with dressed stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it.

Exodus 20:22-25 NIV

What God wants for us can make us uneasy. These are the jagged edges of God’s will. These jagged edges make us consider other sides of humanity. They call for sacrifices in our lives. They call for changes in our expectations and understanding. God will put us in front of challenges, and it will almost seem as if He has stepped back and said, “Fight with everything you have. Only after you come up short will I step in.”

These jagged edges of God’s will exist to show us that if we walk by faith, not by sight, that God will always bless us. But to do this we must make sacrifices. We must be uncomfortable. We must look at life from angles that we wouldn’t ordinarily. When our wants don’t match God’s will, our obedience must trump our desires. 

We haven’t grown spiritually mature until we can take our sharpened tools, stand in front of God’s uncut altar, and realize that our tools aren’t enough. We must look to God and say, I can’t do this on my own. I need you to do it for me.

Each of us knows what it is like when we have tried to go our own way and do our own thing. Even when we fail, we can be glad that God’s grace has given us another chance to come back to His altar.

Modern religion is trying to shape a spirituality that works God. We can’t put that much faith in our tools. Our maturity and growth and wisdom can prove the strength and durability of our tools, but our tools are never strong enough to work God into doing what we want, simply by our determination or force of will. We cannot lift our tools to shape the stone of God’s will.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God's will.” It takes courage to worship at the altar of a God that we can’t work. Sometimes we may have to walk away from what we want the most or walk towards what we want the least.

Don’t try to shape God because of how uncomfortable His jagged edges can make us feel. We shouldn’t try to use our determination or our intelligence to try to stop the bleeding because He knows that revelation and transformation come through the blood.