Every day, I have the privilege of speaking with people who are looking for help in their lives. I usually sit with them as they tell me the many different types of things that are causing them pain, or fear, or depression, or any number of unsettling emotions.
Normally towards the end of our conversation most people ask me a question that I imagine most people wonder but never seek counseling to help them find out. I realize that the majority of people “know” that they are doing fine and any problems they are having will normally go away by themselves. I truly wish that was the case.
So here is the question – “What does God look for in us? What does God expect from us?”
Of course the answer is right there in the Bible, but as the latest statistics show, 68% of people who own a Bible have never read more than 7 complete books of the 66 books within it. That is a shame because the Bible is how God speaks to us today mainly. While many books, movies, and even some crooked, ignorant preachers will tell you that they “spoke” to God directly or that God “told” them something, the truth is that while God absolutely could speak directly to you if He wanted to, at this point in History we are in a place where God speaks to us through His Word (the Bible), through your circumstances, and through other people.
When I ask people what they think God expects of them, the number one answer I get back is this, “to live a good life.” I always cringe when I hear that!!
I always hate to break this news to people, but good is not what God is looking for. Let me ask you, how “good” do you have to be? How much “good do you have to do? Who do you have to be “good” to? Mother Theresa was certainly”good” so does that mean you need to move to India and help feed the hungry and clothe the poor? This is the problem with “good” – you simply cannot define it and lastly, God never asks for it.
Ok I’ll give you this one for free because I love you!!! Here is what God says He is looking for in you:
- Generosity – give the first part of your wealth to help others. The Old Testament said 10% and the New Testament saw Jesus tell us to “give from our heart”, which in the original Hebrew text means to “give as you have been given unto.” God provides everything for you every day. The air you breathe, the place where you live, the money you have, the job you have – God owns it all, we just borrow it for a time. One thing I can tell you with 100% certainty is this – I have never met a single person who ever told me that they were worse off because they tithed money to help others.
- Trust In God – by ourselves, we just mess things up. When we trust God and rely on Him to be there for us and help us through our trials, He gets the glory for it and of course He always keeps His promise to never leave us or forsake us. Trust in God is a very high form of worshiping God and God always blesses that.
- Integrity – make your yes mean yes and your no mean no. Truth is all but extinct in America today. Every commercial on television lies at one point or another. “You can lose 100 pounds in 2 days with our product”. Yeah sure. We are afraid to tell others the things we should be telling them to help them out, but we are afraid that they will think we are judging them or else they might get mad at us. Let me tell you something, if I know you struggle with alcohol and I see you drinking, you can bet I’m going to challenge you about it because I love all people and I never want to see anyone struggle. As a Pastor and Counselor it is of course my job to bring the absolute truth to you -so let me be truthful with you now – God expects nothing short of the truth from you as well. Satan is all about lies and when we lie, we are telling God that we agree with Satan. That is a dangerous place to be. Be truthful – always.
- Humility – we must always put others before ourselves. Jesus’ entire life was about this very thing. He washed His disciples feet to teach them humility. He did this right as they were having an argument about which disciple was the greatest of them all!! Talk about humbling! God wants us to always serve others. Jesus washed the feet of the man, Judas, who betrayed Him and set Him up to die! Can we say that we could do the same?
So looking at this list I hope you can see a pattern that is very simple. Look to God and trust God. Look to others for a way to help them and be a blessing to them. Notice what you are no longer looking at or focusing on? You and your problems. You see what you look at and focus on gets larger and more important in your life. When you focus on your problems, they get larger and all consuming. When you focus on God and serving others, your problems don’t stand a chance. In fact God will work with you to take those problems away when we give to God what He expects of us.
Father God, I pray this evening that anyone who reads this who is feeling lonely, depressed, angry, unlovable, stressed out, or confused about life would stop focusing on their problems and instead look up at You and ask for Your help. Father you have made over 7,000 promises in the Bible about helping us when we have the right attitude, the attitude of gratitude and of serving others. Father, I pray I have made it clear that we can never be “good” enough to earn our way into Heaven. But when we are generous, when we trust in you, when we serve others, and when we are humble and grateful, then we can be assured that not only will our problems go away, but we will be assured a place in Heaven with you. Thank you for loving us Father even when we get wrapped up in our own problems. In Jesus name, AMEN.
Pastor Brad Komgenick