I have been reading Beth Moore’s book Believing God Day by Day: Growing Your Faith All Year Long. It has been such an encouragement to me this year. I have shared many of her devotionals with others in an attempt to encourage them as well. It has been such a help for me to read about believing God during a season that I have moved across the country in a step of faith. It’s hard to keep your eyes on the Lord when there are so many unknowns in the future. God has been my strength through this season and has lifted me up when I was ready to give up.
The devotion Beth Moore wrote for October 16 really struck a chord with me. She wrote, “I’d much rather Him see misguided actions from my believing heart than safe-and-sound actions from an unbelieving heart.” The verse she put along with these thoughts is 1 John 4:16 (HCSB):
We have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God.
I shared this with a group of friends and was asked to elaborate on what it means to me. Here is my response:
When we obey God with a spirit of legalism and only out of duty, we don’t act in a belief that recognizes God’s love (I lived this way for many years and my faith was a burden – I felt that I was never doing enough). When we obey God out of belief, we recognize that we are not perfect and that God loves us in our imperfection. This gives us freedom from the burden of guilt. When we mess up we can go to God and receive loving correction because our hearts are right with Him. We don’t have to do every good work possible in order to please God; we only have to believe Him and obey what He tells us.
Sometimes in our passion for the Lord we do things that aren’t from Him (example: Peter wanting to build tents for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah at the transfiguration in Matthew 17:1-9), but God knows our hearts and has patience with us.
When we do things for God with a heart of unbelief, we are like the hypocrites Jesus called out in Matthew 15:7-9:
You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
I hope these thoughts will bless and encourage you. Don’t let fear of messing up keep you from being obedient to God. Let’s have hearts that believe God’s love for us and actions that show radical trust in Him.