God Is Not Santa Claus

My son, Jack, goes a mile a minute. He’s a six year old in constant motion, and those motions have very little control. If you’ve ever heard the phrase, “a bull in a china shop”, multiply it by 20. Jack is a complete force of nature. It’s not just his actions, either. He never. Stops. Talking. A trip to the grocery store becomes a biography of my sons life over the last 24 hours, and most of it is true. Understand, all of this is from a place of love and innocence. He loves people and his love language is words….lots of them. Sometimes, though, that get’s him in trouble. He struggles to understand when he needs to be silent. Many of the times when Jack has been punished have been directly attributed to his mouth. Whether it’s been in school, church, or at home, Jack struggles to know when to simply be quiet.

How many of us are like that when it comes to God? We’re so busy telling God about all the things we want, all of our problems, or complaining that He isn’t doing what we want Him to, that we never take two seconds to listen for His voice. It’s amazing how much noise we produce in our relationship with God and never leave any room for the Holy Spirit to work.

Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
Proverbs 17:27–28

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be thought of as a fool, and the language David uses here is fairly plain. People who can’t stop talking are usually some of the worst listeners on the planet. Understand, we don’t learn from talking. We learn from others by shutting our mouths and listening. It’s no different with God. There’s no way we learn from Him if we don’t slow down and open our hearts and ears to what He’s telling us. This is really how the Holy Spirit steps in. When Jesus was preparing the disciples for His death, he shared with them how the Holy Spirit would work in and through them.

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
John 16:13–15

Most people don’t realize how young the disciples were. Some of them were teenagers. Others were in their early twenties. They were hard-chargers and young. As younger people, we all tend to think we know everything, and we aren’t very good at listening to the wisdom of others. Jesus was telling these young men that the Holy Spirit had something of value to them that they needed to pay attention to. The Holy Spirit was there to guide them. They just needed to be guidable. 

As someone who loves to hike, I have taken groups on different hikes all over the place. That also means I’ve taken different kinds of people on those hikes. One type of person I don’t enjoy taking is that person who has never hiked a trail, but somehow knows it better than I do. Most trips I don’t have that guy or girl hiking with us, but there are other times when they are there…..and you know who they are right away. They’re the person who is always asking how much further it is, but also ask if we missed a turn a half mile back. They are consistently attempting to take over the trip and challenging every turn. It’s frustrating trying to lead someone who isn’t very good at being led. 

There are so many of us who think we know better than God. We are so busy telling God what we want, that we can’t hear God telling us what we really need. We pray for bigger houses, higher pay, just better stuff. We forget that our old self is gone and the new self is here. We also try to reason with God how hard life is and how we just can’t do what God asks. We can’t squash the Holy Spirit when He tries to lead us.

So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Romans 8:12–17

Just like our children who don’t always wait for their turn to speak, we have the tendency to do the same with God. We want so badly to be heard that we never hear….anything. Our desires and hopes turn God into more of a Santa Claus than a savior. This past December I noticed something about all the different men that played Santa Claus over the Christmas season. They only said, “Ho, Ho, Ho”, “Have you been a good little boy/girl?”, and “What would you like for Christmas this year?” Nothing more. Nothing less. There was no real conversation with the kids. Even if there was, it wouldn’t matter. Kids see Santa as a bank account that they can withdraw from every winter. They don’t want him to talk to them. They just want him to deliver.

Are we like that with God? Do we want Him to just be all about us? In our twisted version of God, do we really just want Him to give us our every desire and shut his mouth so He can focus on what we’re saying? I don’t think that’s how God works, and I don’t want Him to. I want Him to teach me. I want Him to instill wisdom within me. I want Him to speak to me through His Holy Spirit so that I can be what I was created to be. Anything less than that is just Santa Claus.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.
Ps 32:8–9.

If we want to be near to God, we need to listen for His counsel. Don’t let stubbornness, selfishness, or foolishness prevent you from taking the time to hear what the Holy Spirit is telling you. You may be missing out on something huge in your life. 


Emily - February 2nd, 2024 at 11:58pm

Us women are bad about just keeping quit lol. But we need it the most.

That’s one thing I love about fasting, it quiets things down and makes you receptive to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying. It’s amazing to listen to Him, instead of me doing all the talking.

- February 5th, 2024 at 8:09am

I hear that. It's amazing how the different spiritual disciplines naturally work together.