Some things are just set in stone
Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, My offering, and my bread for my sacrifices made by fire, for a sweet [savor] unto me, shall ye observe to offer unto me in their due season. (Numbers 28:2)
There are some things that just have to be done at a certain time and in a certain way or they just won’t work. For farmers who grow crops, there is a planting season that must be obeyed. For those that raise dairy cattle, milking time must be respected. Even in the book of Ecclesiastes where Solomon viewed life from a purely humanistic point of view, he came to the conclusion that some things, no matter what, had to happen at an appointed time:
To [everything] there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
God has wired His creation to demand certain things to be so whether we choose to honor Him or not. When it came to the Old Testament sacrifices, He often reminded His people there were certain offerings that had to be given “in their due season.”
Substitute instructions won’t work
One thing we can learn from that is that we cannot customize God’s plan for us. If we find our lives out of balance, it is because somewhere along the way we substituted our plan for God’s plan. If you want a good laugh and a good illustration of what that’s like, do a Google search for “IKEA fails.” The Internet is full of them: chairs with two legs pointing upward and two pointing down; dressers with drawers upside down; tables with legs missing. The user “followed” the instructions, but somewhere misunderstood or ignored a crucial piece of information that turned their experience into an Internet meme.
Truth doesn’t care about your opinion
When we do that sort of thing with our lives, it doesn’t matter if we are believers or unbelievers, there are some God-ordained instructions for life that cannot be ignored. When dealing with addicts in Freedom That Lasts, we have a change principle that we recite every time we meet:
“You do what you do because you are what you are. To change what you do, you must cooperate with God to change what you are.”
In other words, there are no substitutes for God’s plan no matter how convincing those alternative plans may seem. When we fail to follow God’s instructions, we can expect failure. When we obey, we can expect success. This holds true for believer and unbeliever alike because there are just some things in God’s creation that are just hardwired to follow a certain path. When a person is generous, whether they are a man of faith or an avowed atheist, there are certain blessings that accrue to them. When a person fails to show mercy, whether they are a believer or an agnostic, there are certain consequences attached to that behavior.
The truth is when all else fails – and everything else contrary to God’s way does fail – read the instructions.