As we sat in the locker room side by side peeling off our equipment from a hard fought victory on the ice, I could tell something was bothering him. He had 2 goals in the game, I knew hockey wasn’t on his mind. As we began to chat he told me what the problem was. Life wasn’t going his way and he thought if he did enough of the “right things” God would be convinced to give him what he wanted. “Its OK to struggle,” I told him, “and to wrestle through things, we all do.”
Have you caught yourself thinking that God is like karma? If you do enough good things, he will reward you with good things? That’s not the way He works. We have a tendency to attach ourselves to people and things because we find our identity in them. We are looking for satisfaction and validation in other people and stuff. We feel that we need people to like us respect us, appreciate us, value us, like us, want us, and accept us, because if they don’t then we struggle to like, accept, and value ourselves. We look to define ourselves by our relationships and we find our identity and meaning in life through them. If others accept us, then we feel accepted. If others respect us, then we feel respectable. If others admire us, then we feel valuable. Could this be part of the reason why we spend so much time and energy in the gym working on your physical appearance? Working out in a gym is not wrong. Its great. But think about the reasons why we work out so hard and so long. I know that is tough to hear, but let me assure you, we all struggle with this.
Its easy to do this with God too. Its easy to think that if we do enough good things for God, then he will like us, accept us, love us, and be kind to us. And if we are nice to God, he will give us the things we “need” to feel loved and accepted by others.
So here is the good news. We don’t need a friend, family, or group of people accept, respect, or value us for us to be the person we are. And no matter what you do or how nice you are you can never ever get God to love, accept, or like you.
You see, that is why Jesus came. Because you never could do enough to get God to like you. If you could do things to earn God’s love, favor, and acceptance, then why did Jesus die on the cross? He died on the cross for you so God would wholly, completely, and totally LOVE, ACCEPT, LIKE, and VALUE you ALWAYS. Forever. And there is nothing you can do to ever make him NOT love, like, accept or value you. Even when you mess up. Even when you fail. Even when you blow it big time. Your heavenly Father smiles at you with loving affection. He made you his child. He adopted you into his family. HE IS PROUD OF YOU.
You are God’s child. There is nothing you can do to ever make him love you or accept you more than he does right now. You have all of his love and acceptance. You are fully loved and accepted by him. You are his son, and he loves you forever. He rejected his son, so that you may be accept as his son. THAT is your identity. THAT is where your value comes from. You are a child of God. Fully accepted. You are a son of the King. Totally loved.
Stop trying to earn from God what he has already freely given to you.