Found Guilty Serving God

I went up in flames asking, "What on earth just happened?"
I went up in flames asking, "What on earth just happened?"

God Loves Us For Who We Are, Not What We Do

When I look back to my early days as a new Christian, guilt was an essential tool in my sinful effort to make life work and overcome a poor self-image. Although I was gifted by the Spirit to preach, teach and lead others, I didn't realize that I was doing it to please people rather than Christ. Somehow this baggage of unresolved guilt carried over into the church arena without my knowing. While I was experiencing the tremendous impact of my contribution to the body of believers, deep down inside I felt sensed a nagging need to do more work, more ministry. In wanting to please the Lord more, the ‘god of guilt’ gladly lit both ends of my candle. There was nowhere to go, but to crash and burn. I went up in flames asking, “What on earth just happened?” I was found guilty serving God.

As I rose up from the ashes to dust myself off, I had the opportunity to assess the wreckage. My skewed service for Christ, like fallen debris, was scattered across the ministry field. After picking up the pieces and clearing the mess at ground zero, I came away from that experience with one surviving truth intact: What's important to the Lord is not so much what I do for Him, but who I am in Him. Granted we are responsible to exercise our God-given gifts and not squander them, there's always a fine line drawn between doing it for His glory or ours. Overcoming a poor self-image for me meant having to accept the fact that God loves me just as I am—doubt, pain, fault, shame, all wrapped up in sin. It’s the whole guilt-ridden enchilada. That, by the way, was my "aha" moment! And God's grace never tasted so good.

God loves us for who we are, not what we do. When we stop whatever we’re doing for Him and come to realize what He did for us, in spite of our guilt and failure, His love hits us where it heals—our hearts. The psalmist meditates on God as his refuge and strength. He beholds the Creator’s ways and works then interjects, “Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth” (Ps 46:10). We walk God’s green earth for the sole purpose of exalting Him and not ourselves. To God be the glory. Only then can we begin to exercise our spiritual gifts freely—guilt-free, that is. And the good works we do for Him, we do it in thanks as a way of life (Eph 2:10).

Imagine that. Even if I don’t get to preach another sermon, teach another class or even write another hub, God loves me still. It’s so liberating. I can’t begin to fathom God’s agape love—a love that knows no bounds. As we are made in His image and likeness, we come to discover that we are rich beyond compare. The Lord removed the second “o” in poor, replaced it with “u” and fulfilled His promise to pour out His riches into our lives to overflowing (Eph 1:3). Set free from a poor self-image allowed me to see God through a dim mirror (1 Cor 13:12). “And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Cor 3:18). I look into this mirror and I like what I see! This side of eternity, that’s as good as it gets.

© 2009, Gicky Soriano. All rights reserved.

Recommended Reading:

The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God
The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God

The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God seeks to restore what we have lost. In this treatment of many of the Bible's passages regarding divine love, noted evangelical scholar D. A. Carson not only critiques sentimental ideas such as "God hates the sin but loves the sinner," but provides a compelling perspective on the nature of God and why He loves as He does. Carson blends his discourse with discussion of how God's sovereignty and holiness complete the biblical picture of who He is and how He loves.

 
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith

Newsweek called renowned minister Timothy Keller “a C. S. Lewis for the twenty-first century” in a feature on his first book, The Reason for God. In that book, he offered a rational explanation of why we should believe in God. Now, in The Prodigal God, he uses one of the best-known Christian parables to reveal an unexpected message of hope and salvation.

 

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Comments 6 comments

Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 7 years ago from Roseville, CA

Very good! I know I rushed out into ministry on fire for the Lord all those years ago and it wasn't fruitful (as far as souls saved) until I let the ministry go, got in the Word, then taught others one-on-one how to study also. I stayed obedient to His ways in my life and when I finally got blessed to go out into the mission field, it was fully supported and I saw hundreds get saved. There's no fruit when we do it of ourselves. It is blessed when all we do we do for Him alone.

I know with the person I shared with you about, she kept from dealing with her own healing by helping others, but only crashed, as you said. I pray God is healing those wounds, as He's been doing for me over the past few months. It's been a painful process, but a joyous one as well. Christian counseling is awesome, too.

Thank you for your ministry, and God bless you abundantly as you seek His face and first His kingdom, for He will do greater things than He did as a man through you!!


Gicky Soriano profile image

Gicky Soriano 7 years ago from California Author

Taking His yoke and learning from Him made a world of a difference for me. Pulling the load would be impossible if I didn't keep in step with His Spirit. Thank you for that kind benediction. It was personal as it was touching.


Abrushing1968 profile image

Abrushing1968 7 years ago from USA- Florida

I personally do not deal with poor self-image. I struggle with pride . I wish I could say that I do not think to highly of myself, but I find that, I too often do. For me, balance comes when I view my self as Christ views me. I know he loves me the way that I am, but loves me too much to leave me this way. Humility comes when I realize That he had to die because of my sin. I know he sees my "pride issues, they are known to him. I know because he places people in my life on a regular bases that help me see my arrogant self for what I am. I have a long way to go before my Christ-likeness is unveiled by the master craftsmen.

I would imagine that folks who deal with poor self image would find encouragement in this as well. Knowing that God loves them personally. He finds value in them. Why else would he have sent his son to die for them. They are valuable in his eyes.

I heard someone use the phrase "Christ-Esteem" instead of "Self-Esteem". I liked that better. It reminds me that we are to find our value and our identity in Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:4

I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.

Thanks for making me think.

In Christ

ABR


Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 7 years ago from Roseville, CA

ABR, I learned something about "humility" and what it means. It means to accept the whole truth about yourself; not to think lower than you should, nor higher than you should. Jesus says to be great in God's kingdom we must be the servant of all. Even Jesus washed his disciples' feet. The very holiness and presence of God humbles us in His presence, yet we are priests and kings! Hallelujiah!


Gicky Soriano profile image

Gicky Soriano 7 years ago from California Author

ABR Although I experienced liberty from a poor self-image, the struggle, the old wound, raises its ugly head when I drop my guard. There are times when I find myself in the thick of ministry going at breakneck speed. I'm busy about the Master's business that I forget to spend time with the Master Himself. I'm so caught up in the work at hand that I fail or forget to come away with Him. If I'm ministering to everyone else, who's going to minister to me? Who's going to lead me beside still waters and green pastures? Only when I spend time with Christ will I be mindful and thankful that He loves me for who I am. As He restores my "Christ-Esteem," as you so aptly called it, I find rest for my soul.

JD And yes, coming into His presence brings us to a place where we remember or are reminded who we are in Him. Priests and kings in His service. Amen.


Abrushing1968 profile image

Abrushing1968 7 years ago from USA- Florida

JD-Those are excellent points. Servant hood and the presence of God. Well said.

Numbers 12:3 (NKJ)

Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.

Moses spent a great deal of time in God's presence (second only to Jesus) and he was God's faithful servant. Thanks JD for the reminder

GS I appreciate your testimony, It is a warning for me not to neglect my personal relationship with God.

My "Christ-Esteem" depends on it!

In Christ

ABR

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