I had the privilege of giving the message this past Sunday in the series WITH. The message was about how we sometimes relate to God in a “For God” position. You can listen at that link if you would like. Living life to just serve “for God” sounds so noble. But it is a position that is self-focused and bases everything on what we are giving, where we serve, and how we are sacrificing for God. It’s a mission-mindedness that is attributed to people who are the go-getters, the doers, the overcomers but something is missing IF the mission and what we can DO FOR GOD is the main focus.
Paul describes himself in Acts 22:3 as “being zealous for God” It means having a heart on fire! He was a man on a mission FOR God! But He didn’t know Him until Jesus encountered him on the Damascus Road. Here are 3 questions to ponder if you are a “for God” doer!
- What are we chasing?
When we chase a mission for God, whatever the mission is, if we put that mission ahead of God Himself – we’ve Dethroned God and replaced Him with something we think that we can control. Chasing a mission! Chasing goodness! Chasing ___________fill in the blank. Isn’t healthy. Being on a mission is not a bad thing – We were made for a mission. The Lord said to Adam and Eve to rule and reign over the earth but when we’re chasing mission -we just flat out miss Him in the midst of it all trying to get it all done. We have to be careful because when we don’t walk with God through the work we can end up just using His Name to validate our position and what we are doing. We need to fix our eyes on Jesus and follow Him as we work the mission.
- Where has our significance come from?
Sometimes we can think, “I have to clean up my act first before I can do anything for God. He expects more of me. I just know He is disappointed. I’ve been struggling with the same stuff for a long time.” We think we are supposed to be on a mission. We call that mission “finding our CALLING.” Do we think if we dont know what that is we must not be valuable? Hustling and Hunting for our worth is a relentless taskmaster to prove our value. Our fears of insignificance lead us to do 2 things:
- Either give up because “I don’t even know what I am supposed to be doing?”
- Or dive in and become highly driven on a mission for God -thinking I know exactly what I am doing.
The trouble is that fruit of being with God – things like peace, joy, and love are lacking. We are often just stressed out, frustrated, and overcompensating through trying to control things around us. Somewhere along the line, we picked up this thinking pattern that what matters is NOT how much God loves us but how much we can and need to accomplish for God – so that He will be pleased with us. Paul was clearly on a mission – but the mission did not dominate his life. Because it didn’t define his life. The gospel did! The gospel is simple, we are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone. Nothing we do or don’t do. Nothing we accomplish or do not accomplish. Nothing we succeed at or don’t succeed at determines God’s love for us.
- Have we seen the heart of the Father?
The story of the prodigal son is a story about a son who asks his father for His inheritance and his father gives it to him. He leaves for a far country and loses all the money his father gave him. This son ended up in a pig pen struggling to survive and decided to go home. When he gets there he hopes that his father will allow him to be a servant in the house but his father – sees him coming home and runs out to meet him, puts a ring on his finger, a robe over his shoulders, and shoes on his feet and proceeds to throw a serious party for his homecoming. His older brother was very angry because he had been trying to get his significance in working for his father. Both sons were “using” their father to get ahead. It was not the service of his 2 sons or their obedience that their father desired; it was their presence with Him. We get to see a glimpse of what God the Father is like through this Father of prodigal sons.
When we find our significance and worth in serving or being obedient – a problem develops – not only will we battle with fear of not measuring up but we will work so hard for it that we develop a sense of self-righteousness and arrogance about how good we are at what we do. These attitudes can turn into bitterness, resentfulness, and being full of anger toward others. We can come to see them as less deserving because they don’t seem to work as hard as we do. Essentially we end up measuring people’s worth according to what they can do and we think God is like that too. He’s Not! Just being successful does not equal being healthy. A healthy Christian walks WITH God and finds their identity and significance in Christ, and the impact of their lives comes from that relationship with Him. We are human beings, not human doings. God intends to bring restoration of the knowledge of his heart to us.
Restoration comes when we learn that at the center of God’s heart is having His children with Him. He is not a transactional God, He is a relational God. He is a God that wants to be with us and out of the love that He has given us we move, go, do, and be his kids on the earth.
All is grace,