In the article titled, “I was an Abuser”, in this Divine Percolations series, the main focus was the love of God which He has for His children and the depth with which He values them (Romans 8:16; John 3:16; Psalm 139:13-16). Those that suffer with depression, as I did, often struggle in finding their true worth and value. That dark pit seems like a place especially made for evil forces to come screaming lies about how God would never consider loving me or even want to recognize me as His child. The skewed beliefs made the agony even more intense. Climbing out of that deep hole entailed much effort and assistance, but the rungs of the ladder were set by God’s precious word. Identifying and saturating my mind with the Truth about God’s love for me was vital for my survival and progress. The repairing of the relationship had begun, but it was still a long way up.
In those deep, dark holes, habits can begin to form based on the lies we have begun to believe there. We don’t have to be in the holes for them to develop, but it does create an excellent breeding ground. In trying to fill the void of finding worth and value, we can attempt, by sheer determination, to work to do everything as perfectly as we possible can, to somehow, some way make ourselves worthy of God’s love. Especially if we have been raised in the church and taught the virtue of doing good to all with whom we have opportunity. The danger is when we perceive any good action as earning God’s love and to be considered loveable by our Christian siblings. It is the Pharisaical concept of worth through works and the backdoor to pride. It became entangled in our good works when we weren’t paying attention and possibly while we ourselves were suffering. A shift occurs and our deeds which are intended to be an expression of our love for God and others is now focused on “I” and “me” (Matthew 23:5a). “How do I appear to others?” “What do they think of me?” “What is my value now to God and others?” If our responses to the good work we do is frustration, failure, emptiness, burdensome, dissatisfaction, disappointment, or even pride in a “look how good I am” kind of way, then there is definitely something amiss.
So what do we do? Absenting yourself from being engaged in good works will not overcome the “worth by works” mentality. Although it is a challenge, we must not rely on an autopilot type of movement through our doing “good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). Not only does the soul need to be bathed in the love of God, it needs careful examination and treatment. It requires a powerful injection into the soul. When motive and action honor and glorify God there is blessing, not only for the receiver, but the giver also.
- Stop and ask,“Who am I seeking to please?” (Galatians 1:10) Humility accepts dependence without recognition. “What is my motive for this action?” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
- Pray for wisdom to identify those thoughts which promote the mentality of creating worth through good works. To recognize the desire for the esteem of others and what they will think of me. If I am not able to see what is happening, more likely than not, it overtake me before I can resist it (James 1:5).
- Pray for strength to reject the mindset that is so detrimental and to take the way of escape. God will give it. There is no doubt (James 1:12)!
- Review the love Christ has for me personally and why I am His child (Romans 5:6-8; Ephesians 2:4-5).
- Contemplate your love for the one to whom you are offering service (Philippians 2:3).
- Actively immerse your heart and mind throughout the day with Scriptures that focus on humility of spirit and glorifying the Savior in every good work endeavored. God’s word is transformative. It had the ability to create the universe and everything in it (Psalm 33:6). It certainly can change me!
Included here are a few verses with directives to inject into our hearts and minds. Print them. And go over them aloud several times a day. (The verses in the article “I was an Abuser” will also be beneficial in this area.)
Psalm 16:2 (NKJV)
“O my soul, you have said to the Lord,
‘You are my Lord,
My goodness is nothing apart from You.’”
I am humbled that God would allow me think on and share goodness that finds its origins with Him.
Luke 17:10 (NKJV)
“So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’”
Although what I offer to the Lord does not profit Him, I feel honored to be His. Being a loved and blessed servant fills me with joy and encouragement as I bring Him what I am able to give.
Galatians 1:10 (NKJV)
“For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.”
I have boldly chosen to serve my master Christ Jesus today with a heart full of love for His innumerable kindnesses toward me. I feel no need to seek the approval of others.
Philippians 2:3 (NKJV)
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”
I will hold in high regard my Christian brothers and sisters. I am happy to have the privilege of cheering them on in the Kingdom instead of competing with them.
Philippians 2:5-7 (ESV)
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,being born in the likeness of men.”
I will adopt the mindset of Jesus Christ who humbled and emptied Himself because of his love for His Father and every soul. Because of His example, I am honored to be a dedicated servant in His Kingdom.
1 Timothy 1:5 (ESV)
“The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”
Regardless of the task, the focus of my motivation for giving the Lord my all is an abiding love for Him.
2 Timothy 1:9 (ESV)
“who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,”
With lowliness of spirit I gratefully reflect on God’s merciful plan of redemption for me. That love and grace draw me to fully engage in committing my heart, soul, mind and strength to His service today.
Matthew 25:40 (ESV)
“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”
What I do to for others, I do first from the motive of love and loyalty for my King. And secondly because of His love for them. This privilege brings a light to my eyes and a smile to my face!
By Cheri Deaver
Cheri is wife to Weylan Deaver who preaches at the Sherman Drive Church of Christ in Denton, Texas. She is mother to Orrin, Lacey, Lexie and Ethan, as well as a new mother-in-law to Aubrie Deaver. She is blessed beyond measure for which God has so richly provided.