Words from Pastor Ken

Dreaded Thoughts and Feelings

In the deepest places of your heart, do you wonder whether God is really pleased with you? That He doesn’t really accept you?

I felt this way for a long time. All the really good Christians, I thought, were doing things He found to be impressive, worthy of His approval. But me? There was always something I could be doing better. I perceived God as a taskmaster standing over me, saying, “Not enough! I want more!” Never quite satisfied.

Still, I tried to be fervent in my service to Him. But here’s what I noticed—the more I strived to walk in His ways, the less love I felt for Him. The more closely my feet followed Him, the more my heart ran away from Him. I was losing even the desire to know Him more deeply and passionately. Read this verse with me:

The mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit to God’s law. Indeed, it is unable to do so. (Rom. 8:7) 

But that’s the only real path for us to follow when our relationship with God doesn’t begin with everyday assurance that He accepts us by His grace. Fear-based obedience wanes over time—it surely doesn’t produce love and loyalty for Him. 

A faithful father never wants his children wondering whether or not he loves them. Can you imagine a father saying to his kids before leaving on a trip, “I’ll be back soon, you guys. Or, maybe I won’t. Maybe I’m not even your father at all. I don’t want you to know how I feel about you—I want to keep you guessing. The only way I feel love for you is when you do everything right.”

If a father did this—It might make his children work hard to change his mind, to earn his acceptance—but—it wouldn’t inspire them to love him.

Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us.” (1 John 4:10)

God doesn’t want you hindered by questions about His acceptance of you, any more than you want it for your own kids. He desires for you to be at peace with Him, secure in Him. Whenever you struggle with these thoughts and feelings, begin your change of heart by remembering you are already established in His love for you. Then, repeat this truth to yourself as often as needed: “I am in Christ and there is nothing I can do that will make Jesus love me more, and there is nothing I have done that will make Him love me less.”

Pastor Ken

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