doing vs. being

Continuing with the thought I was on when I closed my last blog – I have found an amazing freedom in learning the difference between trying to please God, and resting in his total love for me.  Coming to understand that he is completely pleased with me, not because of what I do or don’t do, but because of what he already did, is radically life-changing.  I am totally accepted, unconditionally loved, fully wanted, absolutely pleasing.  When God looks at me he doesn’t see my faults, my mistakes, my deliberate sins, my ugly behaviors.  He sees the righteousness of Jesus, and there is nothing I can do that is bad enough or strong enough or ugly enough to affect the righteousness of Jesus.

Does that mean that I should just go do whatever I please?  As the apostle Paul said to the same question, “May it never be!”  Knowing how completely loved, accepted, wanted, pleasing, cherished, adored (I could go on and on) I am by the Mighty, Holy God – Maker of Heaven and Earth – makes me want nothing more than to please him and glorify him.  But out of a heart of love, not out of a feeling of needing to earn his approval or avoid his disapproval, or his anger.

There is something deeply healing that happens when I can say to myself, “It would be wonderful if this person liked me”, or “if that person approved of my efforts – BUT – I am totally, completely and absolutely wanted, loved and accepted by God, no matter what.   It can hurt if someone rejects me, but it doesn’t have to send me into a bunch of negative self-talk and defensiveness.  It doesn’t have to define my self-worth.”

By the way, this is not stuff I figured out all by myself.  This is from The Search For Significance that I was recommending a few posts back.  Buy it.  Borrow it.  Read it.

However, God has been making scriptures come alive to me lately so that they feel like notes written this morning and slid under my door.  Verses I have read literally dozens if not hundreds of times suddenly mean something immediate and practical and personal.  (If you don’t enjoy reading the Bible, I recommend trying The Message.  So conversational and current.)

Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it?

Answer this question: Does the God who lavishly provides you with his own presence, his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you?

The obvious impossibility of carrying out such a moral program should make it plain that no one can sustain a relationship with God that way. The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him. Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you.

But now you have arrived at your destination: By faith in Christ you are in direct relationship with God.

Galatians 3:2-3, 5, 11, 25 MSG

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5 thoughts on “doing vs. being

  1. Hi
    I found your blog while searching google for some answers about chemotherapy side effects.
    My 30 year old husband has testicular cancer (was diagnosed 6 weeks ago – 2 weeks after the birth of our 2nd child) and is currently in hospital having his 1st of 3 cycles of chemo. He like you also has fibromyalgia and he also has severe rheumatoid arthritis and epilepsy. He has been diagnosed with all of these conditions since he met and married me (5 years ago).
    At the start we used to say it was perhaps some kind of ‘attack’ on us as a couple but lately he’s really started to question why God is letting this and all his other health problems happen to him.
    Do you have any advice for him with regards to handling the chemo side effects but more importantly how to feel close to God again?
    Thanks

    • Hi Jean – I am so glad you wrote. I am actually going to email you because I think you deserve a personal reply. My heart aches for all you are going through.

    • Dear Jean –

      I just read your comment to Kim, and I want you to know I will be praying for you and your husband as you fight this battle together. My heart goes out to you especially as the Mom of two little ones, trying to balance their care while regaining your own strength after giving birth, and having your husband so terribly ill at the same time. It must be very difficult, and I pray you have a good support team to assist you now. May you feel God’s presence and never-ending love surrounding you.

      Grace (Kim’s mom)

      • Thanks for your kind words of support. My family live close by so they can help however I don’t want to hassle them too much. I just have to be strong and hopefully in 3 months he’ll get the all clear.

      • If your family is anything like mine, they want to help, they just need to know how. Don’t be afraid to ask, as long as you are being fair (not asking at the last minute all the time, etc.) They love you and want to be supportive. It sounds like you are a very strong person and your husband is lucky to have you. You will need to be strong with him as he will probably go through various emotions. Lean on each other and especially on the Lord.

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