“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up’ ” (Daniel 3:16–18).

WE SHOULD REVERE GOD FOR WHO HE IS, AND NOT MERELY FOR WHAT HE DOES THAT MAY BE OF BENEFIT TO US PERSONALLY. It is right to worship God because He is God, period. There need be no other consideration. Whatever serves the greater glory of God’s wise purposes, that should be our desire, even in cases where His glory might require Him to refrain from saving us (1 Samuel 3:18).

It’s a sad truth that much of our seeking amounts to a subtle form of bargaining with God. We’ll agree to do this or that aspect of His will . . . as long as He is willing to do this or that to make it worth our while. All too often, that which we call our “obedience” is contingent on some sort of payoff — if not in the short term, at least in the long. And if God doesn’t do as we wish, then we’re tempted to complain, “What good is God?”

But can we not see how offensive this utilitarian approach to God is? We would hardly limit our earthly friendships to those who can be of “use” to us, yet this is what we seem to do with God. James Houston comments on this when he says, “Just as the pragmatist has no friends because he simply ‘uses’ people, so pragmatic Christians — and they are indeed numerous today — use God and do not realize the need to know Him intimately.”

When Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35), He pointed to a principle that is as applicable to God as to our fellow human beings. Even with God, we should derive more joy from giving than from getting. And even when we are giving, it should not merely be because that is the way to “get” more blessedness. God was not created for us; we were created for Him. Yet many of us “are expecting Jesus Christ to quench our thirst when we should be satisfying Him! We should be pouring out our lives, investing our total beings, not drawing on Him to satisfy us” (Oswald Chambers). To seek God truly we must desire, simply and purely, to fill His heart with gladness.

“If we seek God for our own good and profit, we are not seeking God” (Meister Eckhart).

Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com

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