Concerned that God might be ‘grading’ you?


Do you ever feel that you’re not doing enough to please God?

I recently asked a group of women how their spiritual life was going. They each frowned and began to recount to me all that they had not been doing. They were each concerned about  not praying long enough, not reading the Bible consistently enough, and not doing enough in their overall efforts to please God.  I’m sure they all thought they were getting a “C” from God for simply being average…if not an “F” for failing. We live in a performance-based world so we can easily get into that mode, now and then, of thinking we must try harder and do more to make the grade with God. But the truth is, there is nothing we can do to make  God love us more than He does alreadyRomans 5:8 tells us “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” If there was nothing we could do to earn God’s love in the first place, there is nothing we can do to lose that love. On days when we aren’t doing enough, we must remember that Jesus Christ has already done everything that is necessary for us to gain the approval of God. When Christ went to the cross He was treated as if He lived our life, so we can now be treated (by God) as if we lived His!

And so we serve God out of our love for Him for what He already did for us…not out of obligation or a performance-based anxiety or an attempt to earn our way to His heart. We read His Word and talk to Him in prayer (as well as listen to what He wants to say to us, through prayer) because we love Him and want to grow in our relationship with Him.

So how can you know if you are truly growing and maturing spiritually? By asking yourself these two questions:

1. Is my love for God increasing?

2. Is my love for other people increasing?

When a man asked Jesus “Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” he was basically asking “What is most important to God? How can I earn His favor? How can I live at the ‘top level?'” Jesus’ answer was this: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39).

Are you loving God more every day? That should be our goal. And are you loving people more every day? That should be the tell-tale sign to show us if we are growing in our love for God.

When it comes to striving, or stressing about making the grade with God, give it a rest. Jesus already passed that test for us. Focus your heart, instead, on loving God and loving others because of what God, through His Son, Jesus, has done for you.

Cindi
About me

Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning author and national speaker who helps women find strength for the soul. She has nearly 30 years experience ministering to women and inspiring them to let God meet their emotional needs, grow stronger through their alone times, and pursue their dreams with boldness.

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5 Comments

Beth Cranford
Reply November 12, 2012

I think this is a message we are desperate for. I don't think it's coincidence that I just published similar thoughts in my "fighting depression" column at Write Where It Hurts. http://writewhereithurts.org/2012/11/the-truth-that-will-set-you-free/#comment-3159

It's so easy to slip into performance mode, and when we do that we stop believing that we are loved and start believing we are tolerated. We know our efforts just never measure up, so we walk around feeling like we're living just inside the boundaries of His love, maybe about to get kicked out if we say one more too-short prayer. I just want to rest in His love and like you said, serve Him out of a growing love for him.

(not sure if it's OK to post links, feel free to remove it. )

    StrengthSoul
    Reply November 12, 2012

    Thank you for your input, Beth. And I loved your post! Our hearts are speaking the same language. Readers, take a look at Beth's writing on this subject as well...God has a way of affirming truths to our hearts when we read them over and over again.

Chery
Reply November 15, 2012

Oh Cindi this is so true! (Great link/article Beth) A wonderful re-focus for sure as it is so easy to get caught up in the spiritual "to do" list. LOVE your 2 step questions, good for daily check-in. Thanks:-)

Maud Momakwe
Reply December 19, 2012

Firstly I'd like to say thank you, your message has just reminded me of how much I'm so loved by God and that there is nothing that can make Him love me less. I feel light like this huge burden has fallen off my shoulders. Thank you so much for encouragement. Remain blessed Cindi

    StrengthSoul
    Reply December 19, 2012

    Thank you, Maud. I'm glad you're encouraged with this reminder.

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