Conversation 5 - Back to the Basics
Joe holding a sign, "Who you talking to . . . Me!?"
Why Don't You Fix Me?

Joe: Hey God, will you please answer another question?

God: I am always ready to answer your questions Joe

Joe: Then tell me, why didn't you fix me? I was told when I accepted you that you would take care of everything and I wouldn't have any more problems. Why didn't you take care of my problems?

God: I did take care of all your problems Joe.

Joe: If you took care of all my problems then Why do I still do things that are wrong? I know that I am not supposed to have feelings that are 'ungodly? I've been reading my Bible and I found where Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:7 that you gave us power, love and a sound mind. I want to know Why don't feel like I have power? Why don't I feel like I love everyone? Why is my mind in a state of confusion most of the time? I don't like being like this.

God: I see that you've been studying your Bible, Joe. I want you to know that I am helping you, I did give you power, love and a sound mind. All these have been provided for you since Jesus. Let me ask you a question and we will see why you don't feel 'fixed'. When someone gives you a gift, what do you do with it?

Joe: That's a silly question, I open it.

God: I didn't ask what you do with the package Joe, I asked you what you do with the gift

Joe: Well, to be honest, after I open it, I first decide if it is something that I like or can use. Then, if it's something that I don't want or cannot use, I either put it away some place or I give it to someone else who can use it. But God, don't tell anyone I said that! My friends won't give me presents anymore.

God: The point is Joe, that you have to DO something with the gift

Joe: Ok God, I understand that, but what does that have to do with my problems?

God: First, why don't you tell me about the problems that make you feel like I'm not helping you

Joe: I don't feel like you've helped me at all because I still get mad and cuss and yell. Sometimes I even steal because I want better things than I have. I still feel jealously, anger, even hated. I'm embarrassed to tell you that I still get drunk, cuss and sometimes even fight with my wife and kids.

God: You don't need to be embarrassed Joe, I already know about all that and I love you anyway

Joe: Well, I hate myself when I do these things. I know I'm supposed to love myself, but I can't when I feel like a failure so much of the time. And you're no help! I was told that you would cure me of all these problems! I thought you were supposed to make me perfect like you're perfect. I'm starting to wonder if I've been lied to!

God: I understand why you might feel angry Joe. After all, you have been told and have believed, that I am a "genie in a lamp type of god." You have been taught that I'm supposed to give you whatever you want. Now you are finding that what you've been told is not true.

Joe: Boy is that an understatement! The things that the church told me would happen when I accepted you as my savior did NOT happen. And it seems like the things that I was told would NOT happen, did happen to me! Man, do I feel like a fool!

God: I don't blame you for being upset Joe, but let's try looking at this another way. You know how when you experience something you learn better than if someone just tells you about their experience? The same is true about gifts. It is better to use a gift yourself than only hear about someone else's gift.

Joe: Well, that is pretty easy to agree with God. What are you saying?

God: It's like this Joe, I gave a free gift called salvation to the entire populace of the world. Now it's up to each individual to make use of the gift I gave.

Joe: I know that you gave us Jesus and that he was for the whole world, but God, but I sill don't understand what that has to do with my problems?

God: I can tell that you are not getting the picture Joe. Look at it this way. I gave my son to save all mankind. He did that, but each individual has to accept that salvation and then proceed to live their lives out from the knowledge of what I have done for them. I have made this free gift available to EVERYONE.

Joe: I know about your gift and I believe in you and Jesus. It is just that the church told me that I couldn't go to the movies, or drink, or go to dances, or cuss. I always felt like the moment I did any of those things that you would send me to Hell. And God, I failed all the time. It seemed like the harder I try ................. the more I fail.

God: That's the problem with rules Joe. When you do something because you HAVE to and not because you WANT to, then you will always come to the point where you will feel like you're a failure. It is my desire that you obey me because you love & trust me. I want you to understand that I want only what is best for you.

Joe: Well that pretty easy for you to say, after all you're GOD! It's not so easy for me because I have desires and cravings. I want more, bigger and better, but not just for me, for my family and kids. It seems like I always want MORE. And if you were a Genie in a lamp I could get you to do what I want!

God: I think I understand the problem, Joe, you don't believe that I want good things for you. You don't understand that I want you to have a plentiful life. (John 10:10) It is only when a person believes that I want the very best for them that they develop a relationship with me. Once trust is built between us a person can pray, "not my will, but thy will be done."

Joe: Wow! Just like Jesus did in the garden! That must have been difficult for him because he knew he was going to the cross to die, yet he said, "Not my will, Father, but yours be done."

God: That's true Joe, and if you read the next verse you see the reward was immediate because I sent an angel to strengthen him. I want you to notice that because of his relationship with me, he also knew that he would raise from the dead on the 3rd day and have life eternal. Jesus understood I wanted what was best for the whole world. He also knew that by his obedience he would be the savior of the world and give the gift of salvation to all men. In Hebrews 5:8 we find, "Though he were a Son, yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation to all that hear him." This scripture lets you know that it was up to Jesus to do I wanted. It was his decision to do my will and not his own will.

Joe: I think I'm getting the picture! You've given us the gift of "free will." You can MAKE us do things your way but you really prefer it when we choose to do it your way. And if I understand you right, you're saying that you have given everyone the gift of salvation and it's up to them to use the gift that you ve. It's easy to see how if someone chooses not use the gift then it will be of no value to them. But to those of us who choose to recognize our salvation, then it is special to us, for now we can have communication with you. Now we can talk to you and you talk to us! Wow God, I think I really am starting to catch on!

God: That's right Joe! You are catching on to what I am saying. It is my desire that you learn how to overcome all situations and problems, the same way children who are maturing learn to take responsibility for their own lives.

Joe: WOW God! This is really starting to make sense. Now I understand why you don't just fix me! I can see how if you fixed all my problems it would cause me to be like a little child who's mom and dad fixed everything. You want me to make the right decisions for my life and I can only mature when I start making those choices! Does the Bible tell me more about this?

God: If you read Eph 4:14-15 Paul tells you, "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive." Remember, deceive meas to trick.

Joe: Wow, if deceive means trick, then if I grow up, evil people won't be able to trick me any more. That alone is a good reason to grow up!

God: That's right Joe, it's more difficult to lie to an adult but it's pretty easy to lie to a child isn't it?

Joe: Yea, it is easy to fool a kid. I use to trick my kids all the time. They were easy to play jokes on. Sometimes I even lied to them by telling them that I was going to do something, knowing full well that I wouldn't do it, but they always believed me. That is until they got older and then they didn't believe anything I said anymore, even when I was telling the truth. Then it wasn't funny any more. This brings me back to my original question, why didn't you fix me way back when I first came to you?

God: I want to show you where to find the answer in the Bible Joe. It's time that people realize the they can find answers in my Bible, and not just to rely on what they have been told by others. It is time for my children to grow up and read my Word for themselves. Many will be surprised to learn that much of what they have been told is NOT there. We will talk more about that later but for now look at Philippians 2:12, "Wherefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." In this scripture Paul was teaching about the responsibility of each person to figure out what " SALVATION" means to them.

Joe: Doesn't it mean the same thing to everyone?

God: Let me ask you, do you know people who are "saved" but each one acts differently? They even see things differently in my Bible. One person might believe that it is OK for an occasional drink of alcohol and yet another might believe that a drop of liquor will send them to Hell. Another might believe that if they swim on Sunday they will incur my wrath, yet another will happily swim, sing and dance on Sunday. Each person really interprets my Word a little differently. (Rom. 14) Can you understand what I'm saying here?

Joe: I think so. I know people who believe differently than I believe, some even go to the same church I attend. What does that have to do with my question?

God: What I am saying here is that I let each person look at the scripture the way they want. I make my Word available to everyone, but it all depends on their maturity how they interpret it. As they grow older and start to search the Bible for answers they ask me questions and then a relationship develops. It's through this relationship that a person starts to trust what I tell them. Up until this time they mostly depend on what someone else tells them. Someone like the preacher or pastor or an evangelist or another church member.

Joe: I think I'm beginning to understand but, YOU just don't understand. I have been told all my life that I have to obey a bunch of rules to be a good person. And I try. I read my Bible daily, I pray a lot, I go to church and I TRY to do everything the church tells me to do. It's just that I fail a lot! It seems like the harder I try, the more I fail. I know that you tell me that you love me, but some times you don't seem so "loving." After all, those are a pretty difficult bunch of laws to follow. They make me feel like I have to try to be perfect in all the time

God: That is exactly how rules make you feel, Joe. I didn't create the Bible as a book of Do's and Don'ts, instead it's a book of promises. The Bibles purposed is for you to learn about my love for you and all mankind. I want you to know that it never makes me happy when people act a certain way so that they can get to heaven or so they won't be punished. I do NOT want people to obey me out of fear, but because they love me and recognize my love for them. want your children to obey you because they know you love them, not because they are afraid of you. I feel the same way. Do you not know that you were created in my image? If you read Gen. 1:27 & Co. 3:10 it will help you understand. And the next time you read the 10 Commandments read each one as a promise from me to you.

Joe: I know what you're saying is true, but, I've been told all of my life that I have to act a certain way and do certain things to please you. I have been trying to do everything that the church says I should do. No one ever told me that just loving you would be enough!

God: That is exactly what I'm talking about Joe. When you love me, you show me that you want to be like me and you DO please me. You see, I know the purpose of every man's mind and it is because I know that purpose I am able to bless some but correct others. Understand that 2 eople can do exactly the same thing but one will be doing it for good and the other will be doing evil. You also need to know that both blessing and correction are equally important. 2 Timothy 3:16 & 17 tells you, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be perfect and completely ready for every good work. I also tell you that I correct the son I love. Hebrews 12:5-11 explains it a little more.

Joe: I still don't know why I still have so many problems in my life when I am doing everything I can to please you.

God: Ok, Joe, trying looking at it this way; Remember when your children were living at home? You knew your children pretty well. Didn't you always know when they were being good just to get in your good favor and perhaps get something they wanted from you?

Joe: Boy, did I! They did that all the time. But the funny thing about kids is that you always know what they are up to.

God: Yes, you knew what they wanted. Sometimes they surprised you by doing something extra nice for no special reason yet other times they made the wrong decisions and you had to correct them. Do you know what I'm talking about?

Joe: Yes God, I understand. I also noticed that when I disciplined my kids that sometimes that discipline seemed to "work" and other times they would just start doing whatever they wanted again. Like I said before, I have one kid who has turned out good and the other who is in constant trouble. The funny thing is, I feel like I treated them the same way. I don't think that I favored one child more than the other.

God: So, are you saying that they responded differently to their correction?

Joe: Boy, did they. I wonder how 2 kids, both from the same parents and raised in the same home by those same parents, can turn out so differently. Now that's really confusing!

God: Verdana" Keep that in mind Joe as we talk about "fixing" your problems. Let's take a look at some of Jesus disciples. You know that Judas was one of Jesus' 12 disciples, but Judas chose to respond differently than the other 11. He had the same opportunities to make good decisions that Peter and John had, but Judas actions were led by the choices he made.

Joe: Yeah, that Judas was a bad seed! I still don't know why Jesus picked him, after all, he knew he was a devil. I found that in John 6:70.

God: That's true but take a look at Peter, Jesus called him "Satan" in Matthew 16:23. And consider Peter's temper, didn't he cut off the ear of a soldier? Do you think that just because Jesus was there to put the ear back on that Peter made a correct choice?

Joe: I never thought about that before, but NO Peter did not make the best choice. I remember that Peter also denied Jesus several times. That Peter was sure a character!

God: Peter later became one of my greatest crusaders because he didn't the continue evil actions caused by his bad temper. You see, Peter had a change of heart, he realized that he was my chosen and started behaving as such

Joe: Ok, I'm starting to understand God. Judas did some bad things and those choices caused him to be sorry and he hung himself. Peter and the other disciples went on to tell others about you and Jesus. I want to be like the ELEVEN but not like Judas. Tell me how I make the right choices. When will I no longer behave out of anger, rage or fear? When I will just be good? I don't want to wait all my life to be like you and to truly believe you! I am so tired of never being able to obey all those commandments. I just never consistently do what is right.

God: You can understand by these examples, Joe, that even my greatest disciples had personalities. They had to choose daily what actions they were going to take, for each new day presents new choices. This will help you Joe, study Colossians 3:8-17 which tells you, "But now also put off all these things: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, shameful speech out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, having put off the old man with his deeds and having put on the new, having been renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, foreigner, Scythian, slave or freeman, but Christ is all things in all. Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender feelings of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering, forbearing one another and forgiving yourselves, if anyone has a complaint against any. As Christ forgave you, so also you do. And above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which you also are called in one body, and be thankful. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And everything, whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.

Joe: WOW! Did you see this?! W first have the old man, then we put on the new man. I have to do this. It is not something that you do for me, it is a choice that I make. It's up to me to "PUT ON" bowels of mercies. I guess this means to really feel these things in my innermost being and I have to choose to be like you, forgiving, loving and kind.

God: I know this all takes practice Joe and I don't expect you do everything perfectly at first, but just like a child grows up, you will grow up. Colossians 3:8-17 gives you an example of what I want you to be when you mature.

Joe: Now I see why you love us anyway. It is just like being a child. When a child grows up they learn to make better choices for their lives. When my children were young, I didn't expect them to act like adults. I had to make the best choices for them when they were little. As they grew older they started making the choices they couldn't make for themselves when they were little. As they grew older I gave them more room to make choices. I can see that I am making better choices in the things that please you as I grow in spiritual maturity.

God: Yes Joe, as you grown in maturity you are learning to make good decisions, but let me remind you that it is NOT the Doing or Not Doing that pleases me, it is your attitude that pleases me. This means I see your heart condition. I know if you want to be like me or if you just want to get something from me. Many obey me just because they are afraid that I will send them to hell. I DO NOT want people to obey me for what I can do for them or because they are afraid of me. It is my desire that you to learn to be like I am, for only then will you will portray who I am to others. I want you to know that I have given you the ability to exercise the faith that I have given you. I want you to be like I am in the world. I want you to show others that I love them. Do you know what I am talking about?

Joe: Is this a test? I always thought you were testing me and it seems like I always fail tests. I can't be like you because I don't know how to resist temptation. Sometimes, God, I don't want to resist!

God: I know that this is difficult to believe, but when you get tempted you can make the choice to give in to that temptation or you can make the choice to overcome. You need to understand Joe, that you are not being tempted more than anyone else and I am not tempting you just because you're a Christian. James 1:12-15 tells you that everyone goes through temptation but I DO NOT tempt

Joe: So, if I can resist temptation, why do I continue to sin? Guess I'm full of why's, but God, I don't want to be the way that I am, I really do want to be like you! I don't like all this confusion in my mind.

God: When you read Ephesians 2 you will find that it WAS your habit to practice fulfilling your desires, but because of my great LOVE toward you and grace, I have raised you up to be seated with me in Heavenly Places. Now you have the mind of Christ. You need only to use the mind I gave you. 2 Cor 5:17 tells you that since Jesus came to be in Christ, there is a new creation, all old things have passed away and all is becoming new. Then, Eph 4:24 Paul tells you what that the new is, "And you put on the new man, which, after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." I tell you that you do this by putting on the mind of Christ. (1Cor. 2:16) This is where you get to make a choice. Behave as the person I created you to be or just do whatever you want. But I want you know that, either way, I still love you

Joe: But God, that is so hard to understand. I know that when I get mad or lie or steal, that I am not pleasing to you. How can I be pleasing to you?

God: The ONLY thing I want is for you to become joined to me by accepting my love. Picture for just a minute, that you were in perfect agreement with someone you know. Imagine being so close to a person that you think the same way and you do the same things for the same reasons. This perfect agreement is what I am looking for in you. I don't want your actions, I want your heart and mind to become joined with me. Your happiness and satisfaction starts when you become joined to me and the hurt and disappointment will stop when you recognize your worth to me. It's when you accept my unconditional love you will have the freedom to love yourself. When you love yourself you will forgive yourself. When you forgive yourself you have the freedom to change

Joe: But how do I accept your love when I hate my bad habits? After all it's easy for me to lie, cheat, steal and do all kinds of things that are wrong. It's a lot harder for me to tell the truth, resist taking something that I want or to not give the other guy a bad deal. I mean, when will I want to do what is right? How can I change all my bad habits, especially when I still want better things and I don't have the money I need?

God: First you need to understand a little about habits. People form habits and all habits are difficult to quit. After all, the very nature of a habit is to do something without even realizing what you are doing. To quit a habit you must first decide to quit. Once you make that decision you need to decide why you want to quit. Next ask yourself what is keeping you from quitting that bad habit. Then, find something to replace the habit, this is the reward for quitting. Keep in mind that you can only arrive at the goal if you continue moving toward it. You cannot stop moving forward and expect to accomplish that which you want. You have to decide in your heart and mind what you want and continue moving in that direction until you have arrived. The only failure is when you give up and quit. As long as you continue toward your goal, no matter how many times you start over, you are not a failure

Joe: You know, God, it does make good sense. I guess the best thing for me to do is to keep practicing good habits until they just become me. The day will come when I no longer have to "practice" being good, I will BE. I will BE what I want to be........ just like you!

God: That's a good attitude Joe, I can see that you are well on your way to accomplishing that which is in your heart. Just Condensed Light " remember, I am on your side . I want you to be successful. I am proud of you Joe and I love you. Now just believe what I have said and believe in what I have already accomplished.

Joe: I love you too God. I want to think about what you have told me while it is still "fresh" in my mind. Maybe I can find a few places where I have been " fixed." Thank you, I really appreciate your time and efforts with me.

God: You're certainly welcome Joe. I also appreciate your desire to talk with me. I look forward to our next conversation.

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