Doing Something for God

Doesn’t it seem natural for a follower of Jesus to live his/her life committed to “doing something for God”? Isn’t this what we are supposed to do, help God reach the world? Matter of fact, there have been numerous gospel songs written with that in mind. One song that comes to my mind contains a line like this, “If working and praying has any reward, then surely some morning I will meet my dear Lord…if anyone makes it all the way home, Lord surely I will.”

The implication of the song is that our self-effort and good works get us to heaven. Those of us who believe that “Jesus is the way, the truth and life…” would quickly condemn that belief system and say it smacks of salvation by works.

However, many of us live our Christian life promoting a similar belief system. We live as if our security and spiritual well-being is related to how much “we do for God”. We may believe that our salvation is “by grace through faith” but we live our Christian life driven by self-effort “attempting to do something for God.” Living in this manner is like an empty vessel trying to fill itself.

You can spot those who live with this belief system. They are constantly trying to measure up to some sort of spiritual performance but always feeling that they are falling short.

Or another example would be someone needing some sort of spiritual experience every Sunday, so that they can feel close to God. It’s as if drinking from the fountain that Jesus gives is not enough. Jesus said that if we drink from His fountain we would thirst no more because His fountain is a fountain springing from within, like an artesian well. “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give them shall never thirst; but the water I give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)

The Christian life is not about “doing things for God”. Think about these questions: What does God need? Does He really need us? How much work for God is enough? How will you know when you have done enough? How do you know when you have measured up?

God never intended for us to “do things for Him” in order to measure up to His acceptance. That’s because He already accepts us. The moment we were placed in Christ at salvation, we were eternally accepted by God, all without an ounce of self-effort.

Bottom Line

Then how do we serve God? First we must come to the point that “apart from Him we can do nothing.” God is waiting for us to acknowledge that we can’t live the Christian life. When we accept that we can’t, God reveals that Christ can. God’s design is for us to stop striving and start resting.

As a result, the will of God will be done through us. Instead of attempting to “do something for God”, we allow Christ to live His life through us, and then watch as God does “exceeding, abundantly beyond all that we ask or think…” (Ephesians 3:20)

Practicing Grace

One of the benefits of being a committed follower of Jesus is that we are a receiver of God’s grace. He pours out His favor upon us because we are one of His children. We can’t earn it by our good behavior or by performing good deeds. His grace and His righteousness were imputed to us the moment we put our faith and trust in the finished work of Jesus on the cross.

Because of God’s grace, we are placed into Christ, and He in turn, is placed into us. (John 17:21-23) Not only does God demonstrate His grace by saving us and bringing us into His family, but He then refers to us as “His children” and “His workmanship”.

This grace also provides us an identity and a oneness with the God of the universe. Added to all of this, we have perpetual forgiveness and cleansing, just for the asking (1 John 1:9). God forgives and cleanses us and then removes the sin from us, remembering it no more.

The depth and breadth of God’s love and grace is unmeasurable. All of this was freely given to us because we are His children. Those of us who have experienced God’s grace will quickly testify that the world has nothing that can compare to God’s undeserved favor. We are truly blessed to be receivers of His grace.

But there is another aspect of God’s grace that we must also recognize. The scripture says that “to whom much is given, much is required.” Just as we have been a willing receiver, we must also be a willing giver of this grace.

When we demonstrate God’s grace to others we are revealing the character of God. This might come in the form of a casserole or a meal, a kind word or a smile. It might appear as a gift of money for someone who is having trouble finding a job. Or, it might appear in the form of forgiveness for someone who has cheated you out of some money. It could come in the form of a helping hand.

In other words, we are to pour out the same measure of grace to others as we have been extended by God. God’s shows His grace to us not because we deserve it or have earned it, but He extends His love and grace just because He loves us. He is not paying us back for something we did for Him. He is not trying to gain our favor because He is setting us up to do some deed in the future that no one else is willing to do. He shows us His grace and favor because that’s just who He is!

Bottom Line

As the old saying goes, “We may be the only Bible someone may ever see.” If we are committed followers of Jesus, God has equipped each of us with the ability to be His grace to someone who needs hope, help and encouragement.

Please don’t waste His grace. Be a demonstration of the grace of God to someone who needs an encounter with our loving Father. Will you join me in asking the Lord to show you those people who need a touch of His grace, and then be willing to be a conduit of His grace to a hurting and needy soul?

Having a Proper Concept of God

Having a Proper Concept of God

Have you ever wondered why there are so many denominations?  How could committed followers of Christ, who read the same Bible, have so many different belief systems and practices? I believe, for the most part, the difference lies in their concept of God.

The way you view God determines the quality of your relationship with and to Him.  For example, if your view and concept of God is based on your adversarial relationship with your earthly father it will be difficult to receive and understand how much God loves and cherishes you.  If you didn’t feel loved and accepted by your earthly father, then how can you believe you will be loved and accepted by your Heavenly Father?

Even though our past relationship with our earthly father can sometimes affect how we view our Heavenly Father, more often than not our concept of God is usually shaped by our church experience.  That was my case. I felt loved and accepted by my earthly father but my church environment formed most of my belief system and concept of God.

At church I had a steady stream of teaching that emphasized that I was a sinner and I would always be a sinner. No matter what I did, I would always be just an “ole sinner saved by grace.”  From that assumption, I believed that I must prove myself worthy of my salvation by doing the following: 

1. Daily admit that I am just an ole sinner – but I can try to act like a saint, even though I felt like a sinner.

2. I will work for God and do the best I can to try and measure up to what a Christian should be.That smacks of     self-righteousness.

3. The more I do for God the more He would be pleased with me. God’s love is based on my performance.

4. The measure of my spirituality is how committed I am to the local Church.You gotta drink the Kool-Aid

The result of my flawed belief system of God was “Performance Based Christianity.”  I had, unknowingly developed a law- based system of Christianity, all because I had a wrong concept of God. I had gotten my view and concept of God from religion rather than from God’s Word. I don’t blame anyone, it is just what I perceived as necessary to please God.

I think that having a Biblical concept of God is so important to understanding the Christian life that I always begin my Exchanged Life Conference ( with how to develop a proper concept of God. If we have a flawed concept of God then how will ever know how to approach Him, love Him and worship Him?

 In my mind there are two ways of developing a proper concept of God. First we learn the character and nature of God as presented in His many names throughout Scripture.  We learn from His name Jehovah Rapha that He is our healer. God can heal our sickness.  We learn from His name Elohim that he is a God of power and might.  There are many other names throughout Scripture that describe the nature of God. I encourage you to do a study of the names of God; it will be a tremendous blessing.  (See Wednesday devotional on 3/20/13 for a fuller discussion of God’s name)

The second way we develop a proper concept of God is to understand the Cross.  Over the years I have asked hundreds of people this question:  “What does the Cross mean to you?”  Many would immediately answer, “The cross is where Jesus died for my sin.”  Then I would respond with a yes, that is correct but what else does the cross mean to you? Most of the time I would get a blank stare because their knowledge of the cross was limited to one thing, the death of Christ.

I am not trying to minimize the role and importance of Christ’s atoning death for mankind’s sin.  But the atonement is just part of the story of the cross.  The cross is not only the means by which our sin debt is paid, but the cross is where we get our identity and we begin to live.

To illustrate the point, I like to teach that there are two sides to the cross.  The first side of the cross is where Jesus paid my sin debt.  On that side of the cross I passed from death unto life, I became a child of God, and I became someone I have never been before.  Old things are passed away, all things became new. (2 Cor. 5:17, Ephesians 1:4-17).  We all rejoice in the opportunity to be drawn to Christ by the Holy Spirit and to declare Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  However, this wonderful salvation experience does not bring us victorious living.

That’s what the other side of the cross does for us.  The first side of the cross dealt with our sin, the other side of the cross deals with our self-life or flesh.  At salvation our spirit was made alive by the Spirit of the living Christ (Galatians 4:6).  But our soul, (our mind, will and emotions) is still in bondage to our flesh and needs to be delivered.  We have all this old programing and belief system from our old life that hinders us from doing what is right.

Because of the cross three things happened that gives us a proper concept of God.

1. Christ’s indwelling allowed us to become an extension of His very life. (Colossians 3:3-4)

2. God poured His life into us at salvation, and then Christ’s life goes out through us to others. (Colossians 2:6) We become a conduit of His life to a lost world.

3. God’s design is that we manifest His very life. We are not to mimic a life like His, but rather learn to rest in Him and allow His life to flow from our life. (John 17:21-23)


The proper concept of God includes two key ingredients. First, you develop a proper concept of God by learning and knowing His names. His many names define His true character. Through His many names you learn how He works and deals with mankind, how loving and forgiving He is, and how committed He is to His children.

Secondly, you develop a proper concept of God by accepting, by faith, your identity in Christ. You learn that God indwells you and has placed the Holy Spirit within you to teach and lead you into all truth. God is not some far away deity that you can hope to please, but He indwells you so that you may daily walk with Him, have a personal relationship with Him, and that He may cherish and lavish you with His love.