God’s Opinion of Me
What words would you use to describe what God thinks about you? Please don’t think of “correct” answers. Think of what you think God really thinks of you, without having to try to be positive. Really.
|God is glad I was born
|wishes I’d read the Bible more
|is disappointed in my behavior
|lavishes love on me
|keeps remembering that big thing I did wrong
|can’t take his eyes off me (because of delight)
|is eager to see me fulfill my dreams
|feels compassion for me
|wants me to straighten up so he makes me feel guilty
|wants me to feel obligated to do good things
|remembers the last thing I did wrong
|is glad to walk with me every moment
|wishes I’d do more to help people
|is disappointed in my life
|longs for me to pay more attention to doing good things
Most people answer: God is disappointed in me, or God thinks of the dumb thing I did yesterday, or maybe even 10 years ago. A student wrote to me how her ideas about God’s opinion of her were changing:
I believed God loved me the way you love people you have to love, as opposed to loving them because you delight in their company or their presence. [She was in youth ministry.] There have been a few teenagers over the years who were annoying & difficult to be around, yet I loved them as my students & would be available to them whenever they need me. I loved them by choice and because they were mine. However, I would not necessarily choose to be around them if I could help it. This is how I thought God felt about me! I did not believe that God would choose to be around me if He could help it–that God delighted in me, wanted to be close to me, and loved me not simply out of obligation. As I began to talk to God about this, I heard God say very intimately, “I do want to be close to you,” at which point I began to cry, right in the middle of the school library!
Many people believe God is obligated to love them because, well, that’s what God does, as if John 3:16 read,
For God felt so frustrated about what a failure the world is that Jesus volunteered to be sacrificed so that anyone who feels obligated enough to go to church and read the Bible gets to go to heaven when they die.
Consider that because God is highly relational and is full of tough, yet self-giving love, John 3:16 is actually a highly relational invitation to the best life possible with God as our companion:
God created us in order to build heavenly community-dwelling place for God’s own self. But we haven’t cooperated. However, the Trinity – that gang of Three–want us back! As we trust Christ, we start living an eternal kind of life. (An eternal kind of life is one that not only lasts forever but is of the quality of goodness, beauty and power that we have never seen.)
It may be a different approach to consider that God delights in you (Psa 35:27; 149:4; Zeph 3:17), that God thought of you before the beginning of the world and thought you were a good idea; Eph 1:3-6). Maybe we buy into the “God is obligated to love” idea because that’s what we’re like. We treat others well out of obligation, and since God is nicer than we are, God must do a lot of it.
Only God is not like me at all. God isn’t demanding and pushy but patient and kind. God embodies all that “wisdom from above” and so is pure (not sarcastic), peaceable (not crabby), gentle (not harsh), willing to yield (not forcing you into things). (1 Cor. 13:4-5, James 3:17). God treasures your “real self”–even the one you keep hidden. God wants to transform that real self into the person you would love to be.
Grace and peace,
April 3rd: Intensive Workshop at Renovare Conference Connecting with People at the God-Level
Is it safe to be the “real me” around church people? Yes. We can experience genuine and respectful “shared life” in Christ in spiritual direction, one-on-one discipling, team meetings and even casual conversations. Through interactive Scripture meditation, we can experience Christ together and the Christ in each other. All this builds tight ministry teams whose light attracts others.
© Jan Johnson – For permission to reprint, http://janjohnson.org/reprints.html
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