Do you think God is pleased with you?
I believe many Christians struggle with this on a daily basis. Our world is performance based. Do good, get good. I am all for striving to go forward and improving, but in our relationship to God He doesn't love on a scale of one to 10.
That is actually the Gospel, the good news, that “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners. Christ died for us.”
God does not love any of us because we are the sharpest knife in the drawer so to speak.
So what pleases God? According to Hebrews 11:6, faith pleases God.
Faith in Him and in His Son and what He did for us. The Bible declares He rewards those who seek Him. How? Just knowing Him through His word produces life, and we are rewarded with restoration from what the Bible refers to as “dead works.”
The mindset of doing good things in order to please God does not reproduce relationship. It creates frustrated Christians who are actually unwittingly stifling the grace of God. (Grace, underserved/unmerited favor.)
I remember the night I came before the Lord in December 1996. On that day I came with nothing but my whole heart, wide open, holding nothing back and laid it down on what I think of as a spiritual alter.
Most Christians would stop right here and totally agree with my testimony. But religion teaches us that now we have to change. Straighten up and live right.
Yes, there was a change. I had no desire to continue in my old lifestyle, but I wasn’t quite sure how to transition my mind and actions to fit what I knew to be true in my heart. Because in my heart I knew I was different. I was brand new, lighter than air and completely forgiven. And I knew Jesus.
I had been born again.
But pretty soon old doctrines were reintroduced to me and a works mentality crept back in to my thoughts. Soon accusations from Satan such as; “You forgot to pray.” “You skipped church.” “You didn’t read your Bible today.” Or “You didn’t read enough.”
Listen, this parade never ends. Once you get on that treadmill of works, eventually you will fall off. And give up. I did. The devil won that battle, and for nearly 10 years I didn’t read my Bible or go to church because I felt so unworthy of God’s love.
That is exactly what the Bible refers to as “falling from grace.” God does not pull His grace back from us. The Holy Spirit does not pack His bags and move out. God lives in us. But our minds and hearts can be deceived and we grow insensitive to Him, spiritually dull.
I have been studying Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son more deeply. It is so true how we initially come to God, spiritually speaking naked/starved/used up by the world reeking of the effects of our lifestyles. Our own hearts condemning us.
But how did Jesus describe the father’s reaction to His son? “He ran to him” with exuberant affection, joyfulness and an incredible love that covered a multitude of sins.
In fact, the father never even gave His son a chance to recite his sins. He embraced him and welcomed him back with the highest honor, wearing his signet ring identifying his position forever as His beloved son.
But what did the father tell His angry offspring? “Son, all that I have is yours,” and it was at his disposal all the time.
Religion will us working outside in the field while seeing others who seem less worthy are rejoicing inside with our Heavenly Father.
If you know Jesus, you have been positioned at the Father’s table, where a feast of unconditional love/mental and physical healing/provision and an inheritance of eternal relationship with God is sealed/secured by the Holy Spirit living in you. Period.
So nearly 24 years later how do I relate to God? Well, just as fresh as a newborn babe, day after day, month after month and year after year.
Just like the day I was born again. It’s all Jesus.
(Romans 5:8; John chapters 1, 3; Luke 15:31; Gal. 5:4)
Contact Brenda Groves at email@example.com