Another Thursday night Community Group had again led to another great discussion. This time we wrestled with the question: Since our good works earn NOTHING before God, why go through the trouble of being “good”? To a lifetime, card-carrying member of the goodie-goodie club, debating this question in my own mind through the years has sent me either headlong into over-worked frustration or bottomed out in utter complacency.
That night though, a voice of hope spoke up and shed some light. “It all depends on how much we trust God,” she said. “Do we believe that the ‘good things’ God tells us to do are for our good or are they for our harm?” God doesn’t just give us arbitrary laws to keep or expectations that are lofty yet unbeneficial. No, He instructs us to a way of life that is best for us.
How could I have missed such an obvious answer? Being obedient for the sheer satisfaction of glorifying God has seldom been enough motivation for me to choose His ways over my own. While I know I am supposed to be grateful for all He has done for me that I am propelled into a life of service, self-denial and cross-bearing, my flesh is still super weak. It still lulls me into believing that that which kills me (sin) will actually bring me satisfaction. It deceives me into believing that God’s ways are not life, but that His commands will actually steal my life.
When my flesh tells me that it is not worth following God’s path because He won’t give me credit for it, I can remember that I don’t need any more credit because Jesus is my credit. What I need is life. I need hope. I need the soul satisfaction that my Creator provides through His Son and His ways.
God used that night in Community Group to remind me that I can fully trust His promises to bless those who follow His commands – not because “doing good” makes me a good person – but because only His life path is designed to lead me to the truly good life.