I have stumbled across a lovely sister in Christ through social media. Chloe Quimby maintains a blog and has a lot of insights to share regarding life and truly following God. I have been so blessed following her blog that I asked her to guest post on here, and I’m delighted that she has agreed! Check out her beautiful insights below, and follow her at: https://anaudaciouspoet.wordpress.com
Hi. I’m Chloe—a twenty-something Christian housewife/writer/copyeditor/biologist/receptionist—and I usually blog over at An Audacious Poet where I’ve lately started rambling a bit about what God is showing me in my life. However, Erica graciously invited me to pop over here today. Thanks, Erica!
This is something I’ve been meaning to write for a while, because God has been bringing it to my attention as a problem in my life. That is, doing the right thing for the wrong reason. Isaiah 1 records the Lord speaking to the nation of Israel, telling them that frankly, He was sick of their sacrifices because their hearts weren’t in it for the right reasons. Their priorities were off. Rather than seeking to have a right relationship with God the Father, they were simply going through the motions to placate Him. But God is not a shallow God, and He desires an intimate relationship with His people.
I usually don’t do things to “placate” God; I don’t think that most modern believers do. We understand that we are saved by grace through faith, and most of my generation doesn’t feel the need to work to get into heaven. (Quite the contrary, we like to see how little work we can get away with, but that’s another problem for another post.) My trouble is that I find myself trying to get closer to God to get things. Not material things, but spiritual blessings–the things which ought to be the byproducts, and not the goal, of a spiritually healthy life.
It’s a subtle difference, but it hinders my walk with Christ when I pursue Him merely for the peace He gives rather than the great and mighty God He is. Or if I follow Christ so that I’m more like Him so that… you know, I can get people to like me better. (I’ve had two people burst out laughing when I told them this, but truly, if it weren’t for God’s work in my life I know I wouldn’t have any friends, because without Him I’m a mess!) Other problems aren’t as subtle–people follow God for material blessings or (ever elusive) success.
The trouble comes when God allows the ulterior incentives to fall away to increase our dependence on Him alone. We then have a choice to make about whether we’re going to complacently continue with a shallow relationship with God, when–like a Divine current–He’s gently tugging us deeper.
“God, why aren’t you giving me my peace fix in the morning so I can go about the rest of my day?”
“Because I want you to be thinking about Me, talking with Me, and abiding in Me all day… apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
“Oh. Well… that’s not what I had in mind…”
“God, please make me a better person. I’m in social anguish all the time and I’d really like to have some meaningful relationships with other people. I don’t want to be popular exactly, but … Can you make me someone that people will like?”
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.” (John 15:18-19)
“Um, Lord, that’s really not what I had in mind.” (I say this to the Lord a lot; I think He laughs at me a lot.)
And a new thought process is cropping up in which people are being taught to follow God specifically for the heavenly rewards they’ll receive. On the one hand, God does promise us reward in heaven and tells us “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them who diligently seek Him.” On the other hand… isn’t our ultimate heavenly reward God’s presence? Isn’t the point of that verse that we be seeking Him, and not the reward?
When we seek God for any reason other than Who He is, we miss the point… and often miss the blessing we were after in the first place. Don’t lose faith if the result you were expecting doesn’t come to be–dig deeper. Diligently seek Him.