Winning God’s Approval

In Luke 18, Jesus tells the story of two men praying in the temple. One man, known to be very religious, prayed near the door where everyone could see and hear him. He thanked God that he wasn’t like other people who were sinners. He also listed off all he did for God in this prayer. There was another man, not known to be religious. He was away from others and wouldn’t even lift his head toward heaven as he prayed. He begged God for mercy and forgiveness. Jesus said of these two, that the man who was praying for mercy was the one who was justified, not the religious man.

Jesus didn’t call us to be religious. He called us to be humble and to walk in his ways. It’s easy to get caught up in doing things for God so that others will notice, but that is not what he is looking for. Each time that happened in scripture, Jesus said that they had their reward. We win God’s approval and the lost by being humble and doing what he asks.

Here’s a few ways you can do that.

1. Be humble

Constantly God reminds us that he rejects the proud and exalts the humble. It’s one thing to let others know what you are doing for God so that they can assist and another to let others know so you can feel superior. God looks past the outside and into our heart. He knows our motives… and so do others.

When we do things for God, we don’t have to broadcast it. People, especially non believers, are paying attention. They may never say anything to you, but they are watching all the same.

2. Practice more than you preach

There are enough people out there preaching more than they practice. I Timothy 4:12 tells us to be an example in what you say, how you live and in your love, faith and purity. Actions speak louder than words. Sometimes people can’t hear our message over the actions of how we live.

What would the world look like if we practiced more than we preached? St. Francis of Asisi said that we should preach at all times and use words when necessary. Simply said, live like you should and you won’t have to preach them a sermon to reach them.

3. Don’t get diverted

Everything in this world wants to pull you away from what you are supposed to do. It all competes for your time and energy. I Timothy 4:16 says to keep a firm grip on both your character and your teaching. If you do, both you and those who hear (see) you will experience salvation.

Set up an accountability partner to help you stay the course. If you know there are areas where you easily get off track, be open and honest with someone to help hold you accountable to keep a firm grip in that area. You will both profit from it.

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