Can I Earn God's Favour?

There’s this false way of thinking that I often struggled with in my childhood and teenage years that still occasionally surfaces. Maybe it’s a thought I acquired somewhere along the line through who-knows what, or maybe it’s part of the sin nature, a natural result of deep rooted pride. The lie is this:
I must earn God’s favour.

Is it the people-pleaser in me? Maybe I’m a God-pleaser too, but with the wrong motivation – the motivation to exalt self. Like – “Look at me, God! See? I can be good. I can do good things. Am I pleasing You yet? Am I earning Your love, Your favour…?”

Those thoughts are obviously sinful (rooted in pride) and false - even silly when looked at in black and white, but they are thoughts that I’ve entertained none-the-less. Even while knowing they are false, they still somehow find their way into my mind! Here’s the thing. If we could earn God’s favour by “good” actions, then we could lose His favour by “bad” actions. One moment I’d have His love, the next I wouldn't. Pretty bleak picture!

When I desperately want to please God (whether from a wrong or right motivation) but then fail, the temptation is to despair over my sin. Being tempted to despair over our sin is not wrong, but giving into that temptation is! To combat this battle, we need to set our minds on truth.

I am a sinner. God’s Word paints an accurate picture of my heart – “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
I cannot earn God’s favour by the things that I do because it is the heart that He looks at, and my heart is full of sin. The only remedy is Jesus Christ.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ( Romans 6:23)
“…through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 6:19)

For all those who have repented of their sin and put their only hope and trust in Christ for salvation, that is our position before God. Righteousness. Amazing!
I love the song Before the Throne of God Above, preformed by Selah. The lyrics in the second verse are particularly applicable:

When Satan tempts me to despair

And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin
Because the sinless Saviour died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me

That’s the truth we need to remind ourselves of when we are tempted to think we need to earn God’s favour, or when we despair over our sin. He has done it all.


Sage said...

Hi Stephanie,
How are you?
I just found your blog while searching for Praying God's word. I am so bless by your blog and the word of truth that you speak. It is true when you say that the internet is a great tool to be used to bring Christians all over the world closer together for friendship and fellowship. I've been reading your blog for 2 days and I feel like I know you already. Thank you for being a blessing to me and God Bless you Stephanie.

Anonymous said...

Steph, great post! This is a truth that continually needs sharing. I loved all the verses mingled with your thoughts. Amazing truths. Thanks for sharing!


Penn Tomassetti said...

"I cannot earn God’s favour by the things that I do because it is the heart that He looks at, and my heart is full of sin. The only remedy is Jesus Christ."

Wow, this is so well put. I sometimes tell people, "Well, God knows my heart... He knows just how deceitfully wicked it really is." You sound just like a "grace laborer" in this post :)

Jennifer said...

Hi, I found your blog via a comment you made on a blog "Young Lady Christian Fellowship". I really enjoyed this post. I too have delt with this crazy idea that we can earn God's love. Luckly for me, God's love is deeper than I'll ever understand!