One of the persistent and alluring false teachings tempting Christians today is the value of our work for “God”.

How enticing to think that if we tithe, and then give even more, to religion we will have a blest life. How satisfying that our witness brings people to Christ. How motivating that we can build up momentum and get any of the gifts of the Spirit just by opening our mouth or praying hard. And that leads to the most appealing, and frustrating one, God answers our prayer to prove how much faith we exercise.

But consider two stories which are linked by identical instruction.

WatersPartAs the Hebrews left Egypt they became trapped between Pharaoh’s army and the Reed Sea. Moses did not plan military strategy or call a summit of nations. Instead, “Moses answered the people, ‘Don’t be afraid! Stand still, and see what the Lord will do to save you today. You will never see these Egyptians again. The Lord is fighting for you! So be still!’ ” (Exodus 14:13-14 God’s Word©).

In the other story Jehoshaphat faced an invasion by three powerful nations. The prophet, Jahaziel, delivered this message, “You won’t fight this battle. {Instead,} take your position, stand still, and see the victory of the Lord for you, Judah and Jerusalem. Don’t be frightened or terrified. Tomorrow go out to face them. The Lord is with you” (2 Chronicles 20:17 God’s Word©).

In the first story God divided the sea and the Hebrews escaped (again) by what God did, not their own effort. In the second story God met the invaders and dealt with them so that when Judah under King Jehoshaphat went out the war was already over.

GodInControlWhat’s my point? I’ll let the Apostle Paul speak.

“You stupid people of Galatia! Who put you under an evil spell? Wasn’t Christ Jesus’ crucifixion clearly described to you? I want to learn only one thing from you. Did you receive the Spirit by your own efforts to live according to a set of standards or by believing what you heard? Are you that stupid? Did you begin in a spiritual way only to end up doing things in a human way? Did you suffer so much for nothing? {I doubt} that it was for nothing! Does God supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you through your own efforts or through believing what you heard?” (Galatians 3:1-5 God’s Word©).

It will never be what you do for God that will bless you, save you or make you. It will always be what God does for you that will do that.

Don’t be deceived with the same lie told in the Garden of Eden, “God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened. You’ll be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5 God’s Word©).

So choose whether you want just to “be like God”, or to be liked by God.