In a world of performance based relationships, it is sometimes easy to get caught into the trap of trying to gain acceptance from God in the same way we try to find acceptance from other people. Most of our relationships (knowingly or unknowingly) have some kind of a performance requirement attached to it. Either we are looking for other people to do something for us (ie: how does this person make me feel about myself, how does my relationship with this person affect the way other people see me, or what influence does this relationship give me...) or we feel the need to do or be something for others in order to sustain the relationship (do I look good enough for this person, am I successful enough, are my personality characteristics acceptable...)
Whether we like it or not, we have been trained from infancy to look at relationships through the lens of performance. If most of our earthly relationships depend in some way upon 'how good' we are, why would it be any different with God?
Praise God for a love that passes understanding (Ephesians 3:19). Without having personally known the love of God, I would think that God would love those who everyone else sees as 'good' or worthy of God's love. You know, the person who always goes to church, always reads their bible, always says and does the right things in other people's eyes. Jesus however gives us a very different picture of the kind of people He chooses. In Luke 18:10-14 Jesus tells us of two men who went to the 'church' or temple to pray - one of them prayed and thanked God basically for the fact that he was such a good person and not like all of the other sinners. The other man wouldn't even enter the temple, but from a good distance away looked down at his feet and asked God to have mercy on him, a sinner. Jesus then tells us that of those two men the second left accepted and justified of God.
So what kind of people does God choose? Is it any wonder that Jesus was born in a stable? That Abraham was just a shepherd and barren in his old age? That Ruth was an outcast? That David was despised and the least of his brethren? It is clear that what God loves is very different from what the world loves. Even of Jesus it was prophesied, "The stone that the builders rejected is made the headstone of the corner". -Psalm 118:22 From the pattern of God's choices it is clear: God loves the humble, the meek, the broken - those who are aware of the lowliness of their own condition and call out to a Holy, Pure and Exalted God.
If you are longing for greater intimacy with God, if you deeply desire to know His Presence and His touch... stop trying to perform for Him! Stop trying to earn his favor! Psalm 51:17 says, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." The only thing you can do to enjoy His Love is simply acknowledge your own weaknesses, your own shortcomings, and your own sin - and cry out out to the God who unconditionally loves and accepts you. When you understand this truth, you will then understand why Paul said, " I would rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest on me." -II Cor. 12:9
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