Skip to main content

God's love is not proportional to my activity for God

Still more thoughts from Running on Empty. :)

What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. - A.W. Tozer

Here's the mind shift that has changed in me over the past two weeks...

"I'm convinced that my need for constant activity is deeply rooted in terribly flawed images of God, images of my own making. The root cause of my busyness might be explained this way: My default nature is set to believe that God's acceptance, love, and care for me is directly proportional to my level of activity for God."
  • We believe the more I do for God, the more God will love me.
  • This has dictated my every waking activity more than anything else. And it's threatening to starve my soul.
  • I came to think of God as someone I controlled. I could make God angry, sad, or happy simply by choosing how to act. If I did enough good things, God was happy.
  • Our relationship with God is not the result of our efforts. Rather, a loving and gracious God acted on our behalf, granting us a most benevolent gift.
"Coming to see that God has searched me out and found me - and not the other way around - was breathtaking. I'm beginning to understand that my faith in God is oftentimes greater when I rest than when I am busy. For a compulsive overachiever, this was a revolutionary thought. The truth that God could love me just as I was, without my doing a thing for him, seemed too good to be true."
  • God can't love me anymore than God already does.
  • I've been granted a more solid character, a more peaceful nature, and a quieter, more tender, more teachable heart.
"The primary reason I've struggled with the love of God is the simple fact that it's like no other love I've ever known. All the other love I've encountered has had something to do with me. My actions somehow preceded the love and proved it conditional. I may have been loved because of my reputation, my possessions, or my talents. But being loved by God is different. God's love is unique in that it has nothing to do with me. God hasn't chosen to love me because of things about me that God finds lovable. It is God's nature to love, and so God loves me naturally."

But my default nature is to doubt all of that. So I spend time with God in solitude, prayer, study and journaling each morning so that my awareness of this reality increases. I am so thankful I crossed paths with this book. It's brought into focus many things I needed to face.


Very insightful Jen....I am also a "busy" person. In the last few weeks I have literally taken five steps back...and taken back some time to just be quiet... and has been wonderful. I have also been coming to grips with the act of not doing and just is hard for us doers...but it is the only thing that will keep us peaceful and balanced.
ROD said…
thanks for the good word

Most Read

Why Some Experienced Clergy (and Lay People) Have a Hard Time When Younger Clergy Take Renewal Leave

This is a guest post from my very own dad! He's a United Methodist pastor serving in Bend, Oregon. I enjoy chatting church leadership with my dad and it's fascinating to see how our generational differences bring different perspectives to our calling as pastor. We need each generation to walk with each other as we figure it out in this new world. We've been reflecting lately as I finished up a renewal leave and he prepares to retire this June. 
By David Beckett
I fall into the category of experienced clergy which is a polite way of saying I am old. I’ve been pastoring for nearly 40 years. When I was a young pastor my role models were mostly white males who presented an image of success that equated with dedication, overwork, and sacrifice. My first senior pastor talked about the 20 hr/wk he invested in sermon preparation. And he expected his staff to work beyond their stated hours. During those three years of full time seminary and a large youth group I put in up to 80 hr/…

Why pastors need collaboration, not competition

There's competition in every industry. Some get promoted over others. Some work incredibly hard but their gifts go unnoticed. Others do good work and people assume they're fine but underneath, they feel like they could never be honest about how hard life is in this season. People spend more energy figuring out how they measure up in a work culture instead of doing the actual work.

Competition itself implies there are two sides.

I remember field days at my elementary school in Alaska. The half-frozen spring ground was covered with clumps of dirty gray snow. Jackets were thrown on the ground as the fourth graders tried to beat the fifth graders at tug of war. Rope burns were shrugged off as sweat dripped down our young faces. We were determined to beat those fifth graders. Our pride was on the line.

Whether you're a fourth grader or an ad manager at a fancy marketing agency or a senator trying out for attorney general, competition runs deep in our DNA.

We want to be the bes…

99 sheep

Reading Matthew 18:10-14 on this cloudy Anchorage summer morning. Parable of the Lost Sheep. A guy owns 100 sheep. They belong to him. These sheep are loyal and depend on their owner for everything. But then one wanders away. I wonder if this sheep wandered on purpose or accident?

The guy leaves the 99 sheep grazing on the hillside to look for the sheep who got lost. One word in verse 13 jumped out to me. "Andifhe finds [the sheep]...he is happier about that one sheep than about the 99 that did no wander off." IF he finds it. This guy who owns the sheep probably knows the hillside very well and knows his sheep's behavioral patterns. But he may not find this lost sheep. 

When someone wanders off, it's up to them if they want to get found. 

When it comes to our connection to God, some of us may wander on accident. Or on purpose. 

We wait for someone to rescue us. Bring us back. Make it okay. But we have to turn towards the one rescuing us. God will leave the other 99 sheep…