I have always struggled with having a deeds oriented mindset and struggling with the thought of “Maybe people will like me more, or love me more if I do more good deeds.” Or even more dangerous, “Maybe God will love me more if I do more good deeds.” Why does our society think that you have earn affection, respect, trust, love? Shouldn’t affection, respect, trust, and love all be things we freely give even to those who don’t ask? Lately, I’ve really been struggling to keep my schedule open. I jam pack it full with volunteering, work, worship, bible study, practice, you name it. Those are all good things, but why do I feel the need to have such a full schedule? Maybe I don’t feel “good” enough so I try to make up for it by doing more and more “good” things. Do you ever feel this way? I have a strong feeling that you might.
A few years ago, I read the book “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World” and it wasn’t until just a few seconds ago that I recalled I even read that book! I, Emily Kerstetter, am a Martha through and through. I do all that I can to please others so that they may look on me with favor due to all my hard work. I do so much to earn people’s affection and to earn the branding of “Good Samaritan”. This mindset has kept me in bondage my entire life. In Galatians 5:13, Paul says, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free….” If I was called to be free, why then am I not living free?
A few weeks ago, my friend Addy shared something with our bible study and it has stuck in my mind. Since then, I think I’ve heard it repeated almost daily: There is absolutely nothing you can do to make God love you more. Well dang. I guess all those good deeds were for nothing, right? No, that’s not true. I believe that God rewards those who do good deeds in obedience and love for Him. Not for any other reason. On the other hand, this is no excuse to NOT do good deeds. The biggest commandment God gave us is to love Him. One way to show our love is to obey and in order to obey, we must answer His call. The second is like the first; love your neighbor as yourself. How do we love others? Everyone has their own way of showing love, so I’ll leave that to you to decide.
[Tweet: “There is absolutely nothing you can do to make God love you more.”]
After this realization, I was left to wonder… “How can I show God that I love Him and that I’m not fooling around anymore? That I’m in this for good, for eternity” One simple word… OBEY. We are to simply obey. One way that I am obeying is by baptism. Tomorrow morning, August 14, 2016, I am to be baptized in the river in obedience to God’s command and as a symbol of my commitment to Him. But even THIS won’t earn God’s love. Why? Because God already loves me at his fullest capacity, infinitely! He sent his ONLY son to die for every sin ever committed and every sin that will ever BE committed by any person past, present, and future. If I was the only person on this planet, Jesus still would have died for my sake. There is nothing I can do to make Him love me more because He literally cannot love me any more than He already does. There is no good deed in all of existence that can ever earn that kind of love.
God knows my heart. He knows my intentions. So in the end, good deeds Just. Don’t. Matter.