“5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)
I have been very paralyzed at times, not knowing if I had God’s favor or not. In fact, usually these times have occured when I have “worked very hard” for the Lord, doing what-not (working hard on the web, writing devotionals, trying to be a good husband and father, etc.).
One might wonder, in the midst of such “feelings” of God’s displeasure, is God really displeased? Was I deceived? I think the answer lies in the following statement: God is always “pleased” with us in that he loves us unconditionally, but he does not love our sin. With this, He is always “displeased.” And rightly so, for sin is an offense to a holy God!
In the Scriptures, we read of God, “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.” (Isaiah 6:3). Again, we read God commanding His people, “For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy!” (Leviticus 11:44). He is not “soft” in such circumstances. He is “hard”, yes, even “demanding!” He demands that we be holy! It is not a choice! If we are not, we will suffer for it!
And, more often than not, I have noticed that it is specifically when I “work hard” for God, that God “targets” my sin by demanding that I be holy!!! How does he do this? By allowing me to come under the “influence” that there is something in my life that is not pleasing to him.
Sometimes the displeasure is more than I can bear. I cringe. I cry. I bow my knees before my Creator, and collapse on the floor, knowing that there is something utterly distasteful inside of me — something borne of the sin nature, something that is resident deep inside of me that is unpleasing to him! It causes me to weep, and despair, and I must confess before God, who sees it all, “Lord, what is it that is displeasing to you!??”
It is at moments like these that He then shows me, very clearly, and I then confess it and “make right” whatever is wrong. Conviction, then, leads to confession. And confession, leads to being cleansed and “useable” by God. It is a process that God is working out in all of us, if we are truly His children. Think not that you can escape His hand of loving, yet firm, discipline! For he does not want someone “working hard” who is holding sin dear to him. Thus, the harder we work, the more prone we may be to getting “targetted” by God for wrongdoing!
“For whom the Lord loves, He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom he receives. 7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, whereof all are partakers, then you are illegitimate, and not true sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we respected them: shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For truly they for a few days disciplined us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.” (Hebrews 12:6-10)
This may seem like a “no win” situation. Really, it’s a “win win” situation. We win, because God is interested in us enough to expose our sinfulness. That helps us move forward with God’s plan for our lives, so that we may touch others in even greater ways. He wins, because, when he exposes our sinfulness, then we must repent of it, thus bringing him glory by becoming more pure vessels. Again, he can use us in a more pure and powerful manner. Yes, it’s a “win win” situation! Rejoice!
“20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. 21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” (2 Timothy 2:20-21)