Have you noticed that God can’t control His kids? Not even Adam and Eve, in their perfect sinless state.
That’s actually not a true statement. It’s not that God can’t control His kids, it’s that He doesn’t choose to control them. It would only take a little lightning therapy to get them in line, most likely. But God doesn’t opt to use His power to dictate outward behavior.
I don’t know that He’s even focused on our outward behavior.
What does register on His meter is much more internal and central to determining behavior…the heart.
God is overwhelmingly focused on our hearts. Because, what is in our hearts—–good or bad—–is going to show up in our behavior.
In general, people tend to focus on other’s behavior and try to motivate them to improve or change it. Whether through guilt and manipulation or by encouragement.
God looks less at what we are doing and more at the roadblocks in our hearts that prevent us from sustaining positive changes in our actions.
The other day, I sat in my favorite chair with a comfy blanket draped, ready to enjoy a good book and a delicious homemade brownie. Remembering something I’d forgotten in the other room, I hopped up to get it. When I returned, there was Milo, our furry, four-legged food-a-holic, front legs braced on the end table licking the frosting off my brownie!
I roared and charged. He cowered down in guilt, apologizing with everything within him.
Immediately, I felt guilty for having scared him in my anger (I know he’s a dog, but I’d clearly traumatized the little food addict).
As I pulled him close and comforted him, it occurred to me that Jesus would have handled that situation totally different than I had. He doesn’t roar and charge when we misbehave.
So I asked Him how He would have handled it if I had been Milo.
Immediately, I had a picture of Him looking at me with such kindness, showing me how my choice hurt me. He wasn’t upset and He wasn’t disappointed (as Graham Cooke puts it in his English accent, “God never gets disillusioned with us, because He never had any illusions to begin with).
Too often, we try to step into God’s shoes to see how He evaluates us, wondering how He could possibly be anything but disappointed by our choices.
But since God has dealt with our sin, there is no festering anger that gets in the way of His all consuming love for us. And His focus becomes helping us become fully who He designed us to be.
He doesn’t get bothered by our lack, He just cheers us on. “Come on, sweetie. Get back up. Look, you made it two hours without (fill in the blank) this time.”
He’s not bothered by our stuff, so why are we? (In that, why do agree with the accuser who tries to guilt and condemn us?). God’s given us freedom, we just get to learn to walk in it.
He’s right there to pick us up each time we fall.
Jesus, thank you for Your goodness and kindness. Help me to walk the path You’ve set before me. Give me eyes to see what is of You and what is not. Please strengthen me to say no to the things that aren’t from You and bring me freedom from the enemy’s snares. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Photo of Milo
Photo via Pixabay