People are a poor replacement for God

Posted on July 26, 2017 · Posted in Godward Orientation, Ruling Desires

Disappointment, frustration, bitterness, sadness, hurt: these are words that all too frequently describe our relationships, especially with people we love. Why is that? Perhaps the most common reason is that you are asking people to do what only God can do.

When people occupy the place in your life that God has reserved for himself, you will find disappointment and frustration. No one can bear the weight of being your God except God.

When you place your spouse, your children, your parents, your close friends, anyone in the role of being your satisfaction, your affirmation in life, hard times will follow. No human can bear that weight! Safety and security are found only in God. Listen to the words of Psalm 62:

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.

God has reserved for himself the place of being your hope in life. It won’t work to look for that hope, that stability, that rock in ANY human. God is the one relationship that you have that you can’t mess up. Jesus Christ made that a certainty when he paid the penalty for your sins. God alone is the only ultimate place of safe refuge.

For example, your teenager may have become a source of frustration to you. It seems as though she is doing things for the deliberate purpose of making your life miserable. You find it difficult to respond graciously to her because of the hurt that you feel so deeply. Or perhaps, your husband continues to be insensitive to you to the point where are you saddened by his lack of concern. Without excusing the poor behavior of either your daughter or your husband, there likely is another reason for your sadness and frustration. You have asked them to do for you what only God can do. If God alone is your security, your fortress, as the Psalm proclaims, then this removes a weight of burden from these challenging relationships. You do not have to crushed when those close to you are less than what they should be. By making God the place of safety in your life, you will be more free to extend the boundless love of Christ to those you love.

Respected Old Testament scholar Mark Futato makes this observation about Psalm 62: “Deliverance from difficulties, our sense of dignity and self-worth, and our security in life come from God alone.”

Make God your rock, don’t place that weight on others. People are indeed a poor replacement for God.

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.