Kaleo Life Seeker
A few years ago I just wanted to know what hill God wanted me to plant His flag on top of – if I only knew what great and exciting goal he wanted me to accomplish – I’d go conquer it.
I’ve learned since that His goal first is to start living life more consistently under His direction – all the little niggling aspects of life must be brought under his control. I must deal first with a bunch of my personal tendencies/habits, such as:
- To become angry when I’m not recognized as I think I deserve or when things aren’t going as I want them to
- To cut corners a bit, no body will know
- To look to my own best interests and glory (selfishness) instead of looking out for others’
just little things like that. This has been more challenging than other “outwardly more glorious” goals I might have thought he’d want of me.
So, back to your question – the other day in our daily devotions we came across the following passage. It helps explain what gives me satisfaction that I’m pleasing Jesus and “earning” his commendation.
“For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You: shall love your neighbor as yourself.” but if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But, if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.”
Galatians 5:13-26 NASB
When I see Him creating fruits of His Spirit in my everyday life, that’s when I feel I’m “earning” his commendation. Earning is in quotes because it really is His doing. He’s the only one to receive praise for any good that I might do under His influence.
- To ask her forgiveness soon after I’ve yelled at my wife for some misunderstanding
- To ask God’s forgiveness soon after thinking road rage thoughts about an inconsiderate fellow driver
- To wait patiently on hold and think loving thoughts toward the person who may eventually pick up the other end
- To truly appreciate my wife as God’s gift instead of buying into the persistent lies Satan brings daily – that really I’d be happier with a younger, airbrushed girl
- To trust God about financial uncertainties as I retire to live from our savings and investments
These are the times I see His Spirit working in my life and making Jesus’ commendation possible. I’m only just beginning to grapple with many areas of my life that need to be under His Spirit’s control. However, every little bit of tangible evidence of His influence makes me happy that He may one day commend me.