Won’t Get What I Want

Have you ever thought about what you want from God? I know that I have. I know that I have little right to tell God to do things for me, but I also know that God’s Word tells me that He loves me and wants to work in me. I want Him to work in my life. I want Him to love me in that “agape” way that the Bible talks about. I want that love to be constant and unchanging so that I know that He will always receive me. I don’t think that these desires violate what the Bible says that God does in our lives. In fact, I think that it encourages these desires.

Here is a second question that I have regarding what I want from God: am I approaching Him in a way that puts me in a place to receive those things that the Bible encourages me to seek? In other words, am I coming to God in a way that gets me what I so desperately need and want?

God’s Word declares two general paths that people take to get these things from God: the path of legalistic ritual or the path of grace filled relationship. Consider these words from Paul:

Gal 3:10 — Gal 3:11

10 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” 11 Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “ The righteous man shall live by faith.”

There is a warning in this passage: as good as the Law is, it won’t get us what we want. We want forgiveness. We want love. We want to know that God is committed to us and receives us. Some people try to get these things by being “good enough”. They follow the rules set down by their church, their family, and their community so that they will be “good enough”. The problem is that it never is good enough, is it? There are always more requirements, more expectations. How frustrating! Yet, it is what the Apostle Paul warns us in Galatians: “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” In other words, we shouldn’t be surprised that following the rules is both unfulfilling and self-defeating. The Law is designed to be that way. It only shows us what we don’t do. It doesn’t give us confidence in what God is doing.

Paul also declares the other way to God: faith! What is faith? Faith is our response to grace. Grace makes promises. Faith believes those promises. Faith acts based upon those promises. Faith trusts those promises. In faith, our relationship with God is not based upon achievement or any type of merit. (How could I ever be good enough to earn love? That’s not what the Bible reveals love to be.) In faith, our relationship to God is based upon His wonderful promises to us. This is grace.

Which way do you and I approach God? If we try approach number 1, I am afraid that we will always be frustrated. We will be frustrated because there is little hope in legalistic rituals. In those, there is only a sense that I can never measure up. However, in approach number 2 we discover great hope: God loves me because He said so. I didn’t earn it. I don’t even fully understand why, but He has promised it. I can trust Him! That is what I want to do. I want to come to God in faith. What about you?

Something to think about,

Pastor John

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