4 Things God Does For You
August 17, 2022 Creekwood United Methodist Church

Perceived Value - Deep Thoughts

Posted in Deep Thoughts

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Since the dawn of Western Civilization, individuals like Socrates, Plato, and others began to question previously held conceptions of the Greek gods’ role in everyday existence, or their existence at all. Their doubt and inquiry have led to great advancements in medicine, science, and how we explore the world we know, but those like Plato asked so many questions they began to doubt reality itself…which will make you go crazy. Even faithful people occasionally doubt the existence of God, or question what God actually does. It’s a natural part of maturation and growth, and we shouldn’t be worried about questions that arise in our faith. However, even with millennia of technological and academic advancements, people still do find God to be a needed entity in their lives. Here are 4 reasons why I believe we should stay “Anchored in God”, and what God does for us.

Something Beyond Yourself

If you’ve ever heard the expressions “self-made man” or “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps,” there is in our society an honoring of those who perceivably don’t need anyone else. But consider the pressure of bearing the full weight of the world all by yourself. Also, consider how arrogant it is to assume you can shift and control the entire world.

In the Bible, in the book of Job, God asks Job several times, “Were you there when…” referring to ordering the way the world works and several other macro-examples of things humans can only attempt to understand or accomplish. It’s not the most pastoral response to Job’s suffering but it does call Job to recognize that he is not the only thing in existence, which means he also doesn’t have to bear the full weight of his suffering.

To be “Anchored in God” is to recognize we are not alone, we are not in over our heads, and we are blessed and guided by the wisdom that far surpasses our own.

A Standard for Goodness

A few years ago, a young student began a frustrating line of conversation about her perception that all governments are corrupt. During her processing, the question was put to her, “how would a world without order exist without sinking into horror film levels of anarchy?” The original student espoused the goodness and intelligence of humanity as seen in the original label of “it is good” when God created humanity. The questioner then asked, “then why do people run red lights?” Forget it being against the law, we know that running a red light is potentially fatal for yourself or the other drivers, but that certainly seems to be worth the risk for many if it saves them from sitting in the car for an extra 45 seconds.

Traffic lights are an agreed-upon standard of goodness, invented in 1914 by Garrett Morgan after he witnessed a gruesome, fatal crash by two people who both wanted their own way. What God does for us is provide a universal standard of goodness that comes from higher wisdom than our own. It may sound simple, but codifying “Do Not Murder” in The Ten Commandments in Exodus 22 is not common sense or instinct, as evidenced by the amount of violence carried out in our world.

While it is healthy to examine how our traditions have defined (and potentially misshaped) that standard of goodness if we acknowledge our often selfish limitations as human beings, it is helpful to anchor ourselves in the universal standard of love and goodness that God calls us to show towards each other. In this way, God serves as accountability for what we may do that is harmful and a motivator to consider new habits that will be blessings to those around us.

An Unconditional, Ever-Present Presence

One of the more remarkable statements in scripture is when Jesus tells his disciples that he no longer considers them servants and calls them friends. Previous conceptions of Greco-Roman gods had come to walk amongst mortals, but often for their own pleasure. Many other conceptions of divine beings were absent, intervening only to punish or bless at their whim. God, in a Trinitarian understanding, not only comes to spend time among humanity, God uses terms of lasting endearment about that humanity.

Of course, this exists long before Jesus. God strikes up an agreement with Abram that God will be the god of Abram and Abram’s descendants will be God’s people. This turns out to be the Hebrew/Jewish people, and despite their consistent grumbling and failures God never leaves them and always provides hope. Even after Jesus’ ascension, The Holy Spirit comes into the hearts of humanity as an ever-present reminder that God is with us, among us, and guiding us.

There are a lot of people, groups, and things to find meaning and value in. Sports teams are fun to be a part of but once you can’t play anymore, the team goes on without you. Friends provide a network of support and joy, but if the unspoken agreement of love, respect, and fun is broken, there’s no guarantee that friendship will continue to exist. What God shows and says over and over again in The Bible is that God will never leave us and never refuse to call us friend. This does not mean that our life will be perfect or easy, but it does mean we’ll always have support through the difficult times and celebration in the great times. Many have looked at Jesus’ crucifixion as God proving to us that God is committed to being with us in all things, even facing death, with an ever-present reality of hope on the other side of our circumstances.

A Rescuer

The poets and songwriters in Psalms and other books of The Bible use wording like “He picked me up from the miry clay,” and “You inclined to hear my cry” to describe their experiences with God. Psalm 23 talks about God setting a feast for the psalmist in the presence of his enemies and defeat, a sure sign of hope and fullness. In the New Testament, Jesus talks of God as one who is so loving of each person that God is willing to leave the 99 sheep that are doing just fine to save the 1 that needs help or run down the road at full speed because a child who is hurting and destitute needs a loving parent.

Too often we consider God only a rescuer if God heals our loved one of cancer or magically protects us from a car crash. While those kinds of things happen on rare occasions (the definition of miracle is rare), God rescues us most often from our self-destructive tendencies. As noted above, God saves us from the sins we might commit by laying out a standard of goodness. God saves us from the sins we do commit by being an eternal presence of forgiveness and allowing us perpetual second chances. And have you ever considered how differently we act when we behave from a healthy point of view versus a shamed view of self? Because God takes away our shame through being perpetually loving, and through the great example of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, we are free to act out of our whole, healthy selves, saving us from the mistakes and negative self-worth we might encounter without God.

Does this mean we don’t care about future mistakes or sins? No. Paul makes this point in Romans, that just because God is willing to forgive perpetually, it demeans God’s great love to not relish the rescue God has afforded us and we should seek to center our lives and actions in the same grace shown to us.

Those are just 4 ways God, as known in Christianity, is active and important today and every day. As you go about your day today, I hope perhaps this will help you to notice the influence of God around you, even if you haven’t previously ascribed the good you experience to God. And, if you’d ever like to dive deeper, please don’t hesitate to ask one of our pastors to chat.


David Lessner


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