Saturday, July 22, 2017

Pleasing God

The master who said to his servants "...well done, good and faithful servant..." raises the question of when can we and do we please God and how. 

In one sense there is nothing we can do to make ourselves good (lovely/faithful) enough to be accepted by God. We simply are too broken (untrusting and suspicious of God) to ever live a life of complete, uninterrupted love and devotion to him unaided (i.e. on our own) that is equal to (does adequate justice to) who he is (all glorious and worthy of total honor) and what is properly due him (and which he also desires).

We can however, by the power and influence of God, out of his infinite love for us, made accessible by and through his unlimited grace, shed forth in our hearts by his Spirit, live for God's glory. In this way it is possible. But this is in response to God's love, not the result of self generated effort i.e. willpower.

Are our wills involved? Absolutely! We have a choice and play a vital role in how we honor and please God. But it's a choice of believing (and receiving) or not believing the completeness and fullness of God's perfect love for us.

This is not a choice to will ourselves to "do or be better"  "God, I am really sorry I blew it again. I am determined to do better next time. Just watch and see."

It is choice of how much (to what extent) do we believe and receive his love for us. How much do we understand, recognize and accept that "*it is finished" and there is nothing we will or ever can do to make it more so. It is a choice to receive and accept (bask in and even **enjoy) his love when we blow it. 

*"it" being the payment for and removal of all condemnation for our rebellious distrust; the essence of all sinful behavior.

And not only so, but the righteousness of Christ is also fully credited to us. If we are in Christ, the ***credit for His perfectly lived life of faithfulness is totally assigned to us. When God looks at the record of required and perfect faithfulness he see's the deeds of Christ listed as if they were ours. We are now looked upon by God as perfectly righteous/faithful/ moral.

As a result, God's love is now fully fixed (locked in) on us. He and it can never be removed (separated from us) or us from him (it).

Nor can his love be changed or added to, because of what Christ has already done for us. It is not based on what we do (or will do) for him i.e. it is not because we are deserving, but because Christ is. He earned this for us. 

Knowing this is vital to our being empowered to live for him, because we can only truly love because he first loved us, never the other way around. Our love for (and faithfulness to) him is dependent on his love for us first and our believing and receiving (knowing) this total love. 

We are designed to be respondents to God's love, not initiators of love. God is his own cause (source) of love, we are not. How? Why? Because his love is rooted in the eternal and infinite relationship of love between the Father, Son and Spirit. In short, we need him, he doesn't need us. 

It is vital we grasp the extent and fullness of God's love in order to be moved to love and desire (have affections for) him in return, over all other desires. The greater and fuller our understanding of this infinite love, the greater and fuller our response and the more honor and glory we bring to him.

And when we do respond (act) in this way, he is well pleased. And he is pleased not only because it brings him great honor (it put's him on greater display so others will be drawn to him) but also because it brings us great joy i.e. he is happy for us because he longs for our best i.e. he loves us. 

Matt 25:14-30

21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

  • For a further discussion on the difference between willpower and affections click here
  • For a discussion on the difference between God's objective and subjective love and presence click here
  • For a discussion on experiencing and participating in God's love click here.
  • For a discussion on his love being based solely on grace click here


** We enjoy the love itself. Of course we don't enjoy grieving the one who so faithfully loves us (Jesus). However when we understand nothing stops his love, not even our unfaithfulness, it moves us in greater love and a stronger desire to not grieve him (he is grieved for our sake, not his own). 

Our unfaithfulness only quenches a fuller experience of this unending love, not the love itself. 

***isn't it ironic of how offended we get when others receive credit for what we did

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Grace to you
Jim Deal