Mrs. Clark’s 7th Grade Bible Class Discusses:
The Vending Machine God: The Christmas Myth
God wants us to love Him, not things. He wants us to seek Him, not answers to greedy prayers. When you live your life in communion with God, who gave His only Son to die for our sins and loves you beyond anything you can imagine, what will you ask for?
“Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us,
we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask,
because we keep his commands and do what pleases him.” 1 John 3:21-22
Each of the following verses indicates a condition for answered prayer
that can be expressed in four words or less.
What are they?
2 Chronicles 7:14
1 John 5:14
The “vending machine god” means that some people believe that if you just ask God for something, He will provide your wants and wishes instantly; like a vending machine.
This myth is completely wrong because we know by looking merely at scripture, that God is not just a provider of your needs.
For example, James 5:15-16 says that you must confess your sins and pray for each other. I do not think that’s a “vending machine,” or a god who will provide you with all of your needs [exactly] when you ask.
This god that the Father Christmas myth refers to, reminds me of a parent who does not care about their child, and gives them whatever they want.
I do not know about you, but whenever I think about God, I do not think about him giving me whatever I want; I always think about when He died for us, and that He always cares for us.
He let the Roman soldiers nail His hands and feet to a cross, and let them beat, and cruely make fun of Him when He could have just blinked His eye and everything would be at peace.
The points that I have just spoken about do not sound like a God who would just give anyone that asks for something exactly what they ask for. Therefore, I strongly believe that the Father Christmas myth is wrong, and that we should respect God.
Claire, age 12
If you pray really hard for something God will give it to you. Ask for money — all the sorts of things — and God will give it to you. He is like Santa, but without the naughty list thing so we can always be good and get presents.
As much was people want to believe this is true, it is not.
Just like if you put a random coin in a vending machine and you don’t get your peanut butter cookies, you cannot insert a prayer into God and have faith in that specific thing.
God does not kneel to us and grant our wishes, because God says to us, as his disciples, “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?” (1 John 3:17).
We don’t NEED material possessions if we are reborn in the Spirit, because God already promises us something beyond our imagination — in Heaven.
God wants us to pray to Him so that He can love us and listen to us and our problems. He wants us to seek Him so He knows that we love Him.
Macy, age 12
If you believe The Father Christmas Myth, you would think that your prayers are like coins you put into a machine so that you get what you want. It is the belief that if you submit a prayer to God he will answer your prayer by giving you whatever you want, even if it’s selfish.
The problem with believing this is that “God does not submit to our whims and wishes” like Josh McDowell says in the book.
Jeremiah 29:12-13 says we should call upon God, pray to Him, and seek Him with all our hearts, which means that we should not focus on our wants, but on the Lord.
We don’t always get the things we pray about because sometimes we pray for selfish things and James 4:3 says that when we have wrong motives we might not get what we ask for.
God wants us to want Him more than things. Josh McDowell also talks about how when we live our lives for God that we should have the same wants as God, which means we would ask for things that God would want to give us.
Owen, age 13
“Today the sincere seeker of truth can have complete confidence, as did the first Christians, that the Christian faith is based not on myth or legend but on the solid historical fact of the empty tomb and the risen Christ.”
(Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door, p. 78)
- Does it really matter what you believe, as long as you have faith?
- Are there errors in the Bible?
- Was Jesus just a good teacher?
- Can anyone prove His resurrection?
- What does that have to do with me?
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