Devotion: A Selfish God?

“Present your whole life as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God–this is your act of spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Romans 12:1-2

I came home today and my daughter had left me a question: “Is God selfish because He wants us to praise Him?”

This is a great question from a girl seeking Christ, in fact it was the same question Lindsay asked me once in college.  (I am surrounded by smart, faithful women!)

As I typed my response to my daughter, I realized these words were what I also needed to hear.

It is not that He is selfish, but gracious…He allows us to love and praise Him.

As I read from Barth today, “God does not need us.”  Fundamentally, we have to come to grips with this…we are just not that important.  Once we see that, then we can realize that it is only through grace that we become important to God.
Though God does not need our praise, He wants our praise.
He wants our praise so He can change our lives:
  • The very lips we use to say mean things to each other, to gossip, to deceive, to cuss…we get to use in prayer and praise of God.
  • The very eyes we roll, lustfully stare, silently judge…we get to use to focus on God.
  • The very hands we use to hit or pinch, to shove, to manipulate, to abuse…we get to dirty in service to God.
  • The very feet we stomp when we are mad, use to walk out on commitments, run from challenges…we get to use to follow God.
That is what God wants–for us to praise Him with our whole lives. It repurposes our flawed and failed lives. It is not for Him, but for us.
God is not selfish in His desire for our praise, but selfless for He looks at our half-hearted attempts with gracious love.  Like a father receiving a preschooler’s art, He does not need it, but is glad that we attempted to express our love for Him…for our sake, not His.
Are you praising Him with your whole life?  What are you holding back?  Where is He transforming your mess into a work of art?

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