How much is enough when you are trying to please someone else?
Cats, for instance. Can you ever rub a cat so much that it wants you to quit stroking its’ fur? My daughter had a little black cat named Betty who was a black hole for affection. If you stroked her fur 23 hours and 59 minutes a day, she’d want still more.
Wives are like that, too. You can give heavenly back rubs and shoulder rubs or foot massages for hours on end. When you stop, what is the first thing they say?
“Thank you!” Are you kidding?
“Don’t stop!” they whine.
Have you ever felt that God was like that? You read the Bible for 15 minutes but then think, “I should have read more.” You pray but you feel you didn’t do enough. You serve others but was it adequate?
Or you did well, but then you wonder if your motives were correct?
The result is that you live feeling you’re not doing enough, can never do enough. Can I tell you a secret?
God is not a cat.
So Why Do I Always Feel Like I Should Have Done More?
Well, sometimes you should have done more. If you are goofing off and half-heartedly living and serving God, maybe you need to get a fire built under you.
But, when you’re suffering from the “God-is-impossible-to-please” syndrome, hang ‘em up. You’ll never relax. You’ll never be joyful because you think, “I’ve got to do more.”
If that is your disease and you’re trusting God for salvation but still feeling like you come up short, pull up a chair and get a prescription from Dr. David.
1. Take Carter’s Little Liver Pills, three times a day. No, not really. I wanted to see
Here comes the real prescription.
Pill #1: Meditate on what IS!
Usually we feel we’re not doing enough because we depend on our feelings and not facts. He are some facts, what IS, and not just what we might feel.
–He loves us insanely. We can’t do anything to make Him love us more than He already does. You think you love your kids, but you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen how God loves His kids.
“He is a mighty Savior. He will give you victory. He will rejoice over you with great gladness; he will love you and not accuse you.” Is that a joyous choir I hear? No, it is the Lord himself exulting over you in happy song.” Zephaniah 3:17, (TLB)
—His work in us changes us. “Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Cor. 6:11, NLT)
—His power is available for us. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Eph 3:19-21, NKJV)
–The future He has prepared for us is mind-blowing. “I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (Rev. 21:5-7, NLT)
Pill #2 is to recognize our weakness and His strength and His disposition to forgive and help us. Pleasing God begins with His work in us. The work of God is to trust in the one He sent, Jesus-Christ our Savior. That pleases God.
Zechariah had a vision and in this vision he saw Joshua, the High Priest at that time, standing before God with Satan there to accuse him.
And the priest had on dirty garments, so we can suppose that Satan the accuser had some ammunition. But, Jesus took Joshua’s side: “Then the Angel showed me (in my vision) Joshua the High Priest standing before the Angel of the Lord; and Satan was there too, at the Angel’s right hand, accusing Joshua of many things.
“And the Lord said to Satan, ‘I reject your accusations, Satan; yes, I, the Lord, for I have decided to be merciful to Jerusalem—I rebuke you. I have decreed mercy to Joshua and his nation; they are like a burning stick pulled out of the fire.’
“Joshua’s clothing was filthy as he stood before the Angel of the Lord.
“Then the Angel said to the others standing there, ‘Remove his filthy clothing.’ And turning to Joshua he said, ‘See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes.’” (Zach. 3:1-6)
Once in frustration, I fumed to myself that I could never do enough. Even when you do right you’re asking yourself if you doing it with the right motivations.
When you think like that it makes you want to quit.
When I think of how much He loves us, though, and how He’s for us and helps us and what He has prepared for us, well, we may not be what we want to be or what we’re going to be but …
He loves me like a son. When I know that, I know I don’t have to measure up to be loved. I’m already loved.
“Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free and realizing you were the prisoner.” Unknown
Images: Flickr, Creative Commons, Bradford Timeline Carter’s Little Liver Pills (1894); Matt In a better Mood Parsnip allows some affection.