Found Guilty Serving God
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.
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