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I’ve been reading this book, The Cure, and attempting to live this book, for about six months now.
I don’t want to give away the book’s content, because I want anyone with a grain of interest to pick up a copy, and read it for yourself.
But as I’ve been marinating in it, first, on my own, and then, in a group of women that meets each week, and finally, with a group of women in a small group online, I feel like I have to have a place to write down my takeaway from the book.
Chapter 1 is all about Two Roads that the believer can take in life.
One road is labeled Pleasing God.
One road is labeled Trusting God.
Pleasing God has been a lifelong theme for me.
I’ve said it out loud, both to God, and to others, that there is nothing I want more than to make God happy. To please His heart.
And at least subconsciously, I’ve thought the way to do this was to try hard. To try really, really hard.
A verse that I’ve often thought about in relation to this was Jeremiah 29:13, which says, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”
And so on some level, I believed that the way to pleasing God was to demonstrate to Him how hard I was seeking for Him. I wanted to show Him that I really was willing to seek Him with ALL my heart. And I thought that if I prayed long enough, and read my Bible with great faithfulness and diligence, and participated in Bible studies, that I would ultimately show God how very sincere I was, and finally, I would “find Him”. And that this would please Him, and make Him happy. Because, with all my sin, and sinful desires (whether it was arrogance, or pride, or selfishness, or whatever) I certainly felt deep down inside, in private, that I must be a huge disappointment to Him.
Maybe for you, it’s been other things. Maybe for you, you were convinced that the way to pleasing God was to live self-sacrificially. So you gave more money. Or you worked on the streets with the homeless. Or you visited prisoners. Or you organized the pantry at church, or the clothes closet. Or you adopted a child, or children. Or you went on mission trips to serve others, and spread the gospel. Or you attended church regularly, whenever the doors were opened.
NONE OF THESE ARE BAD THINGS TO DO.
These really ARE the way we live out love.
If I’m engaging in these activities with “pleasing God” as my PRIMARY motive, as in, “Maybe if I do this, and this, and this, then God won’t be so disappointed in me, and will actually be happy with me”, then our thinking is messed up.
Because with thinking like that, you can NEVER do enough. It never ends. (Because all our righteousness really IS filthy rags.)
Hebrews 11: 6 says, “Without faith, it is impossible to please Him”.
Think about that for a minute.
Faith means TRUSTING.
It means trusting that God loves me.
That before I ever did one act of anything righteous, that He loved me. And that’s when He gave His Son to die for me, to reconcile someone like me to Himself. As the Father who adopted me into His family, He wants me to trust that love: the love that says “Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you.”
He loved Abraham that way, and He loves me in the same way. In Romans 4:3-5, we see it was Abraham’s belief that was credited to him as righteousness. No righteous works that Abraham did earned him that status of being righteous.
So, how can I be pleasing to God?
By believing that He has ALREADY declared me righteous. By trusting that I am a person that is already pleasing to Him, just by nature of the fact that I have said that I believe in Him. By having faith that He really IS my loving Father, who will never, ever leave me, or forsake me.
So, now, I’ve taken a different path.
I’m weary of the striving that comes from “trying” to please God.
God just wants me to believe.
It’s my trust in Him, my faith, that pleases Him, anyway.
Pleasing God has happened. But it’s a by-product of trusting God.
This new road has brought me freedom.
It’s bringing freedom to my friends, as well.
And all those good works?
They’re getting done.
But they’re getting done in freedom.
Because He gave us a new nature, and a new command: to love one another, in the same way He loved us.
And our new nature DELIGHTS in keeping that command.