“IN VIEW OF GOD’S MERCY”
Why this subject?
It’s time to get rid of some of the false notions that lurk in our minds about God and us, and about our salvation.
Please remember that I am trying to be objective in diagnosing certain false ideas. I am not judging or indicting anyone. I want each of us to evaluate ourselves and to change any ideas or beliefs that are incorrect so that we can be true to God’s word if we are sincere in our desire to follow Jesus.
Now let’s begin.
- Some people think that they are doing God a favour by believing in Jesus. They have a selfish agenda. They are in it for what they can get out of it. They think and act as though God were their servant.
These people communicate this wrong idea in the way they pray, in the way they react when God doesn’t answer their prayers the way they think He should and in the way they behave when things go wrong in their lives.
In their prayers they inform God or imply that the person they are praying for, be it themselves or someone else, is a really good person and deserves a response from Him.
When God doesn’t answer their prayers according to their expectation, they stop praying because they think that prayer does not “work”, as though prayer is a magic formula to get God to do what they want. Their prayers are confined to “grocery list” praying and they expect delivery by return of post.
When bad things happen, they demand to know why. They think they do not deserve this kind of treatment from God. After all, they pray, they read the Bible, they go to church and they pay their tithes. They either blame Him for not loving them, for allowing it to happen, or for punishing them unfairly. They lose faith, become suspicious of God and even walk away.
They thrive on recognition and accolades and are offended if no one notices or commends them for what they are doing.
- Some people believe they are not worthy of salvation. Why should God love them? Why should Jesus die for them? Why should God be interested in their insignificant issues?
They have a false form of humility based on their feelings of unworthiness. They feign useless because they are unworthy. They do not recognise or acknowledge any spiritual gift and they are therefore passengers and not partners in the kingdom of God. They filter everything they hear through their unworthiness and they function out of their unbelief.
They don’t want to “bother” God with their petty concerns because He is busy and has bigger things to worry about than theirs. After all, He has to look after all the people in the world!
They are useless, powerless and unproductive and are constantly “rededicating their lives to Christ” by responding to “altar calls” or needing ministry to bolster up their self-esteem and help them cope with the irritations of everyday life.
They are self-absorbed and have no interest or concern for anyone else or their needs.
- Some people are so anxious to please God and people that they are involved in everything they can possibly do.
They try to meet every need and fill every gap even if they are not gifted to do so and they cannot say no without feeling guilty. They are performance and need-driven, not Spirit led.
They are always busy, running here, doing this and doing that. They have a desperate need to be needed and feel useless if they are resting and doing nothing.
They are always complaining about being tired and about no one helping them – the “Martha” attitude, but they take on more and more just to satisfy their drive to please. They believe that the right way to ”serve” God is to be busy.
There may be other wrong beliefs and attitudes among God’s people, but these three and variations of them typify some of the false motives and ways in which we relate to and serve God.
These problem ideas distort our motives and attitudes and rob us of the truth that guides us on our journey towards becoming true sons and daughters of God.
The answer lies in five little words which the Apostle Paul penned with urgency and with great wisdom in Romans 12:1-3.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, IN VIEW OF GOD’S MERCY, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing or your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1,2.