God doesn’t just want us to do life for Him. He wants us to do life with Him.
I’ve grown up with the wrong perception of how He sees me.
I always thought I had to do the right things — pray before meals, treat others with respect and read my Bible — to satisfy God. I thought I would go to Heaven and spend eternity with Him because I earned my acceptance through my behaviors.
I’ve grown up with a lack of understanding who Jesus is and what He did for you and me.
When Jesus was crucified and rose on the third day, He defeated sin and death. I grew up hearing the Easter story and celebrating because the tomb was empty and the Easter Bunny brought me candy. He has risen, Hallelujah!
But what does that mean for me?
It means nothing I do can make God love me less. We all fall short of His perfection; we are all sinners. Yet, He forgives us. He doesn’t keep a record of my mistakes. His grace is abundant and freely given.
It also means nothing I can do can make Him love me more. I don’t have to pass a test on theology or reach a certain amount of volunteer hours to gain His affection. He loves me just as I am – a daughter of the King.
When we begin actively pursuing God, we find our true identity: His beloved children. And as we begin walking with Him, we will become more like Him. The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22).
Our behaviors reflect our understanding of God’s love for us. Obedience flows naturally from a heart that seeks its’ identity in the Father.
The fruit of being in a relationship with God causes us to bear more of His characteristics. As the Holy Spirit sanctifies our hearts, we begin behaving in ways that look like Jesus:
We love our enemies. We rejoice in our trials. We stop comparing ourselves to others.
Trying to do these things without God ends in anger, disappointment and frustration. But when we walk with Him, these behaviors flow naturally out of love.
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8