Am I Doing Enough for God?
“Do you ever feel like you’re not doing enough for God? Do you ever feel guilty, like you should be working harder for him?”
Many of the ladies in my Sunday School class nodded in response to the questions. Our teacher had struck a chord that resonated with us.
We were studying 2 Samuel, and in chapter 7 we read how David had a plan to do something wonderful for God. He would build God a house. David’s desire to do this work for God flowed out of his love and worship for God.
But God’s response to David’s desire to serve him gives us insight into the way of the Lord with his children. Through the prophet Nathan, God asks David, “Would you build me a house to dwell in?…Did I speak a word…saying, ‘Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’”
Later, David’s son Solomon would build him a house, but for now, God wanted David to understand what kind of a God he was — and it wasn’t a God who needed David to build him a house.
God says in Isaiah 66:1-2,
“Thus says the LORD; ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be,’ declares the LORD. ‘But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”
And oh, God did look! God looked to David, replying to him in a way that said, You want to build ME a house? Oh no, no, no, no. I will build you a house — an eternal one!
The Bible is clear: God isn’t looking for women who will build him a house, who will work for him, who will get their act together and plan for him, who will provide for him, who will fill some void in his heart. He’s looking for women for him to revive (Isaiah 57:15). He’s looking for women with a contrite and lowly spirit so he can come to them to show himself strong on their behalf (2 Chronicles 16:9).
“I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” Isaiah 57:15
“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him…” 2 Chronicles 16:9
God turns David’s (and my!) understanding of himself upside-down and on its head — GOD is looking to serve ME. To help me. To support me. To work for me.
“From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him.” (Isaiah 64:6)
Does this kind of doctrine make you feel uncomfortable? Do these truths make you feel like you need to put on the brakes?
I think I’ve felt uncomfortable with these truths because I don’t want to make it out like God is a genie in a bottle, a Santa Claus waiting to give me my best life now and make all my dreams come true. I also know that the Christian life does involve sacrifice and walking in a manner worthy of Christ, and I don’t want to seem to encourage lawless, ungodly living.
But Paul taught a gospel like this — a gospel so good that one might fear that its grace gives license to sin. Paul’s response to this assumption is, “By no means!” (Romans 6:1-2)
Because, for those of us who have been brought from death to life, Jesus has changed our very want-tos and who we are from the inside out. Yes, we’ll still fight those old, sinful inclinations, but we won’t love them anymore. When we receive Jesus, the Bible says we are new creatures in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are fundamentally different after we receive Jesus than we were before we believed. Now, we love God and his ways, and whereas we went wrong before, now we go right, because we are right within (Spurgeon).
But I think the biggest reason I’ve felt uncomfortable emphasizing a strong God who helps the weak, is because it’s hard for me to admit that I’m weak and needy. Do you identify? Are you strong, self-sufficient type that others can always count on? Not needy? Not dependent? For the strong, for those who see themselves as better than others (Luke 18:9-14), it’s an uncomfortable gospel.
But it’s the true one. And it’s good, good news for those who realize that they are unworthy, needy sinners.
And that Sunday when we talked in our ladies class about this glorious, too-good-to-be-true God and his goodness to us, I could feel the weight of “the Christian life” lift off my shoulders. The should, the ought-to, the guilt, the trappings of busyness and stress. Because the right response to God’s goodness is to receive it — and ask for more!
“What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD.” (Psalm 116:12-13)
Like he did for David, God is seeking to help us, too. Jesus said that he did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). Jesus’ work on the cross — his ultimate service of dying in our place for the sin that we have done — is for those who receive His son, Jesus.
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)
But Jesus’ help for us did not end when he died on the cross for our sins. We live the Christian life like we began it: receiving.
God works for us.
Our response to the incredible Gift we have received is love, obedience to, and worship of “the God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth.” He is a God who “does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.” (Romans 12:1; Acts 17:24-25)
And the Christian life is daily asking God for more. Asking God for help. Asking him to do in us what only he can do. Asking him to change our loves and want-tos. Trusting him to be our strong help. Walking in obedience to his word through the strength that he supplies. Joyfully rendering obedience and a whole-hearted trust in response to the work he has done for us and is doing in us. Resting in a God who works for us.
Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress, helpless, look to Thee for grace:
Foul, I to the fountain fly, wash me, Savior, or I die.
Originally written by Amanda Criss of Bless Your Heart and Home. Used with permission.