Movies, books, culture, and people we love have all said, “just follow your heart.” There’s a problem, our heart perpetually seeks it’s own good. We may help others, because it feels good. We may love our children, because they love us back. It goes without saying, self-serving love can get uglier still. Being your own tour guide through life is a tiring, never-ending, always-wanting way to live. So what’s the alternative?
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one. Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.
For yet in a very little while,
He who is coming will come, and will not delay.
But My righteous one shall live by faith;
And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.
But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.
You might have heard option B is to do your best to please God so you can have a good, and even eternal, life. This pursuit is also problematically self-serving. This thinking says, “I work hard, so I can please God, so I can have ______.” Instead, what if we think like this, “We please God, thanks to what He did for usthrough Jesus.” We don’t follow our heart; we follow His.
We don’t live for the approval of God. We live from His approval. When God gave us Christ, He took away our power to get further approved by Him. Christ became the measurement of a believer’s place with God. What now? We can’t build up our confidence with good works for others. But neither can it be torn down by bad words from others. If God is for us, who can be against us? If God gave His only Son for uswhile we were still guilty, what would He spare on our behalf? We don’t have to live for us, because Jesus died for us. In fact, our God is always for us. I’m confident. Not because of what I do, but because of Who He is.
Consider: Is there anything you think you’re doing for God that you may actually be doing for yourself? How can you start living from His approval instead?