Valerie is a 42-year-old, single, Reformed Christian lady who lives in Baltimore. She doesn't remember a time
before she knew and loved Jesus, but she does remember accepting John Calvin into her heart in March of 2000.
Valerie is a member of Christ Reformed Evangelical Church in Annapolis.
Though her career aspiration is to be a housewife, Valerie has not yet found anyone suitable who wishes to hire
her for employment in that field (or, more properly, anyone suitable has not found her), so in the meantime she
earns her daily bread working in communications -- editing, writing, print design and website management.
God Is Willing to Be Pleased
Sometimes I come across the most obvious thoughts that are like new revelations to me (or, considering the season, perhaps I should call them epiphanies). Yesterday's thought was that God is willing to be pleased with His children. A couple Sundays ago, Pastor Knecht mentioned in a sermon that sometimes, when he's obediently going about his daily work, he turns to the Lord and says, "Are You watching me? Do You see me making this call or preparing this message or counseling this person?"
It reminded me of how often I hear, "Miss Valerie (or Mrs. LaValerie, as the case may be), watch this!" while some small person or other performs some not particularly remarkable feat. How like a child's faith to speak to God in such a way. (And how like Glen Knecht to exemplify such a faith.)
Somehow I've managed to live 40 years and only ever think of God's watching over me as a negative, "you'd better watch out, you'd better not cry" sort of thing. I think that's because I've learned, and rightly so, that I cannot gain God's favor by my works. My righteousness is as filthy rags. So all this time it has seemed to me that all my obedience is worthless.
What I've missed in the equation is Jesus. In Him I have God's favor, and all my works done in Him -- by His power and to His glory -- also have God's favor. So if I were to say to the Lord, "Watch this!" while I do the equivalent of a lopsided somersault on the living room floor, He would say, "Wow! Good job!" just like I say to the small persons who perform such exploits for me. They haven't got all of Olga Korbut's moves down yet. I haven't got all of Jesus' moves down yet. But that doesn't stop my heavenly Father delighting in my attempts to imitate Him.
"[M]ake every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:5-8). The phrase "in increasing measure" is the one that always grabs me (and has since my NIV days, hence my use of that version here). God is pleased by our growth in grace -- He doesn't wait for absolute perfection before we can start bearing fruit. And if our toddling steps and lopsided somersaults weren't pleasing to Him, surely we could not be effective and productive at all.
When we feel as if our obedience is worthless, it leads inevitably to more sin. We don't bother to try, and we become like the servant who buried his talent. We call that servant faithless. If faith is belief, at what point did he fail to believe? He didn't believe that "He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6, NKJV). And not a stingy rewarder, either, but a bountiful and generous one, who pours out kindness and encouragement and attention and acceptance and approval and affection and grace upon grace upon grace. When we don't see this, we don't thank Him for it, and ingratitude festers into bitterness and rebellion.
God is willing to be pleased with us because He is already pleased with us. It pleases Him when we understand this, and, whaddaya know, we find it pretty pleasant ourselves!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 10:35 AM
On January 11, 2008 12:57 PMcoramdudewrote... Now that's what I'm talking about. Valerie, you are a peach and blessing. God digs you, and by His grace me and mine think you're the bomb too.
On January 21, 2008 4:35 PMSuewrote... Wow. I needed to read this today. I am printing it so that I can reflect further. Wow. I get so caught up in grim-faced obedience that I forget His love for me. Thanks so much.