The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Category Archives: Pleasing God

Understanding Repentance

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God judges you by your soul’s response to Him.  Once God establishes a relationship with you, you constantly make choices about how you will treat Him in that relationship, and those choices are what determine whether God is pleased or displeased with you.

Humans judge you by how you behave—especially by how you behave towards other humans.  Humans have strong opinions about how you ought to treat them, and if you don’t meet their expectations, then they dislike you.  Read more of this post

Relating to God: Recognizing the Trap of Symbolic Pain


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Humans are big on symbolism.  This means that much of what you do and say in life is an attempt to communicate messages that are quite unrelated to the things you’re actually doing and saying.  For example, when Holly hears her boyfriend Todd say he loves blondes, Holly goes out and bleaches her brown hair blonde.  She does this not because she wants to change her hair, but because she wants to keep a secure hold on Todd’s affection.  When she then asks him “Do you like my hair?” what’s she’s really asking is, “Have I gained more of your approval by adjusting myself to be a better match to your preferences?”  For Holly, dyeing her hair was a symbolic act that was meant to communicate to Todd how much his approval means to her and how much she wants him in her life.  Read more of this post

The Inner Room: Understanding How God Judges You


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Suppose you have a newlywed friend named Chad.  Chad says that his wife means the world to him, but then you see him making out with another woman in his car.  Are you going to believe Chad’s claim to love his wife?  Not really.

Humans put behavior above words in importance.  Because we can’t see into each other’s souls, and because we know what chronic little liars we all are, we don’t put much trust in words.  We put very little value on intentions.  It’s what you actually did that matters, not what you wanted to do.  Mike desperately wants to kick his addiction to alcohol, but it’s just not in him.  How much does his wife Sara care about Mike’s desire to improve?  Well, all Sara sees is what a monster Mike turns into when he’s plastered.  It’s Mike’s behavior that Sara judges him by, and as far as she is concerned, his actions prove that his claims to want to get better are just a lie.  After all, if Mike really wanted to stop drinking, he’d find a way.  He wouldn’t just talk about it.  This is how humans judge each other: actions trump intentions.  When Marsha finds out that Joe cheated on her, she’s so hurt that she won’t even listen to his excuses.  As far as she’s concerned, there is no justification for his behavior.  If he really loved her, he’d be faithful.  And yet is life really this simple?  Is it true that merely wanting something bad enough will magically give us the resources to make that something happen?  No, it’s not. Read more of this post

Understanding How Easy it is to Succeed with God


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Many earnest Christians find themselves paralyzed with fear that God will suddenly flip out on them if they make one wrong move in life. Naturally this makes them feel very distressed and anxious whenever they have to make a decision. If your human father was some unreasonable, short-tempered jerk who was always demanding that you reach some impossibly high bar of perfection, you will automatically project these same bad qualities onto your heavenly Father. But the truth is that God is not a clone of your earthly parent. Instead, He is an entirely different kind of Being, and One who is far easier to succeed with than your fellow human beings.

Here’s a key point to understand: God does not expect you to read His mind. When He wants you to do something specific, He takes full responsibility for communicating His will to you. When He’s not giving you any specific instruction (which many Christians feel is most of the time), then is He going to flip out on you for making some wrong move? No. Read more of this post

Assessing God’s Pleasure with You: Three Useless Tests


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How do you know if all is well between you and your Makers? The Church offers you several simple tests. If you rely on her tests, one of two things will happen. You’ll either end up feeling hopelessly discouraged and questioning the validity of your salvation, or you’ll end up going astray with misplaced confidence and useless striving. The Church’s tests for identifying if a Christian is on track are utterly useless. Let’s learn why. Read more of this post

Pleasing God When You Can’t Control Your Flesh


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“How much do you care about pleasing God? Let’s see you prove it.”

This is what Christians will say to you in the Church. This is what the New Testament writers will tell believers in their letters. But there’s a major problem with this little challenge, and it comes with those last five words:

“Let’s SEE you prove it.”

What can humans see? Can they see your soul longing for God? No. God has blinded other people from seeing the real you because He considers your soul’s response to Him to be none of their business. On this earth, He has you hidden from view inside this physical earthsuit that you drive about in. As a Christian, you have the Holy Spirit riding along in that earthsuit with you and He knows exactly how you feel about Him. But other people don’t, and it bugs them. Other Christians think that you should find their approval of your spirituality desperately important. Other Christians think they are qualified to stand in for the Holy Spirit and assess your spiritual progress for you. So when other Christians see you getting drunk again or waking up in bed with someone else’s spouse, other Christians are going to say that you obviously don’t care about God. When they see you getting that divorce or abusing your kids or beating up your wife in a fit of blind rage, they’re going to start questioning the validity of your salvation. If you listen to other people’s assessment of you, you’re going to end up drowning in shame and self-loathing and brainstorming ways to end your life. You’re going to end up turning away from the only three Beings who stay by your side when your flesh is dragging you through the moral muck: Jesus, Yahweh, and the magnificent Holy Spirit. Read more of this post