FOR US, NOT FROM US

Many people have the mistaken notion that Christianity is about God trying to get something from us. Their assumption is that God needs us to make him feel complete and satisfied. Therefore God demands sacrifices and worship and the fulfillment of all sorts of rules and regulations. It seems, they think, God is on some sort of “cosmic power trip.” Naturally, this view of God inspires either fear or distain. But it can’t inspire love.

In Christian faith, however, this perception of God is really, really bad theology. The Bible makes it very clear that God does not need us. God is complete and perfect in-and-of God’s self (reflect on Psalm 50, The Book of Job 38-42, and Isaiah 40, for example). From all eternity, God is completely self-sufficient, dependent on no one and no thing. Now, you probably didn’t anticipate a theology lesson, so I’ll resist further exposition. Let’s move on to the implication: If God doesn’t need something from us, why is God interested in us? Why did God create us in his image? What do we make of the amazing story of redemption revealed in the Bible?

Our faith is not about what God wants from us, but what God wants for us. Recall Romans 8:31 “God is for us.” Those parts of the Bible we often resent as requirements, rules, and regulations are, in fact, the expressions of God’s desire for our health, our wholeness, our joy and our fulfillment. God is like a healthy parent. Healthy parents don’t try to get things from their child but, instead, want the best for their child. Of course, there are blessings that come from the child. But their primary focus is what they want for their child, not from her.

Other religions are all about obligations and deals and getting on God’s good side. Christianity is about a relationship of love and respect with the Living God revealed in the Bible who created us and redeemed us at the cost of his only Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Having given Christ for us, God now longs for us to be healed, to be restored and to grow up into the fullness of life as God intended it. So now we realize, for example, God did not give the 10 Commandments as arbitrary rules to demonstrate his power over us. The 10 Commandments are God’s way for us to live life to the fullest. They are the best advice for smart living. Likewise, God’s call to worship weekly is not meant as an imposition on our time. It is the way to redeem all time. Weekly worship recalibrates our lives so that we see everything else from God’s perspective. And giving of our time, our talents and our money is not because God needs us, but because he wants to set us free from the bondage of materialism and worldly ambition in our lives.

See you in church—where you will discover all God wants for you!

Faithfully yours,

Doug