If we consider Paul in the Bible; so very much he did against the body of Christ! Paul was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among the temple elders/people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of his fathers. Paul also discusses his pre-conversion life in his Epistle to the Philippians, 3:4–6, and his participation in the stoning of Stephen is described in Acts 7:57–8:3.
This verse has become one of my favorites, and it has often been a source of encouragement to me when I’ve had hard times. The Living Bible paraphrases the verse like this:
Yet the Lord still waits for you to come to him, so he can show you his love; he will conquer you to bless you, just as he said. For the Lord is faithful to his promises. Blessed are all those who wait for him to help them.
Let’s think about the staggering implication of that promise: God waits for us. The Creator of the universe and the Giver of all life has chosen to wait for us—waits for us to come to our senses, waits for us to respond to His love, waits for us to turn to Him for help.
That’s an overwhelming thought. God wants to show us love.
Perhaps as much as anywhere else, Satan attempts to build a mental stronghold right there to block that promise. When we contemplate God’s love for us, many of us can’t take it in. We can only think of our failures, our shortcomings, and dozens of other reasons why God shouldn’t love us.
That reminds me of a kind man I’ve known for many years. One day he took care of a situation for me that he didn’t have to, and I was surprised and deeply touched. “You are probably the kindest man I know,” I told him.
He stared at me in shock. “Me? Kind? Oh, I can be mean-spirited and cruel,” he said. For several minutes, he explained to me that he couldn’t possibly be a kind man. “I live with myself all the time, and I see all my defects.”
“Maybe that’s the trouble,” I told him. “You see your defects so clearly, you don’t see your caring, compassionate qualities. You discount all those things.”
He never could accept that he was kind. I also used the word gentle and that surprised him, too.
Maybe that’s how it is with many of us. We’re so absorbed by our failures and all the wrong things we see about ourselves, it’s hard to believe that God wants to bless us. If we read, “God wants to punish you,” we usually wouldn’t have trouble saying, “Yes, that’s what I deserve.”
But how would we answer if someone said, “God wants to bless you”? We probably would think, “I don’t deserve that.”
How many of us actually believe we are entitled to God’s blessings? We want the good things. We want God to love us, encourage us, bless us, and give us victory, but to say we deserve those blessings may be more than we are willing to accept.
Why do we struggle over the concept of deserving? Our tendency is to think that we have to do something to earn His blessings . . . that we have to be good enough or faithful enough. We miss the point of God’s powerful, gracious love. Our blessings from God are not a result of our goodness. They are the result of His goodness.
We are entitled to God’s blessings for only one reason: because we’re His children. It’s just that simple. Those of us who are parents grasp that concept with our own children. We brought them into the world, and they deserve our love. We freely give them our love, long before they do anything good or bad. They deserve our protection and all the good things we choose to give them. They don’t deserve those things because they’ve done something to earn them, but simply because they are our children.
Satan loves to trip us up on this one. As soon as we think it is right for us to be blessed, he points to our weaknesses or our failures. God points to our relationship. That’s the difference.
Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for wanting to bless me. Even though the enemy tries to make me feel undeserving, please remind me that I am Your child and You are my Father when I forget. Thank You for Your love. In Jesus’ name, amen.
God waited when we were off course. He waited when we had a bad attitude. He waited when we failed, when we were addicted, compromising. He could have said, “That’s it; I’m done with you.” But He waited. He showed us mercy. He picked us up when we fell. He kept the addiction from taking our life; He protected us when we chose the wrong friends; He stopped the accident that could have taken us out. He waited when we didn’t believe in Him; He waited when were bitter because He didn’t answer our prayer; He waited when we ignored Him. Sometimes you need to look back and say, “Lord, I want to thank You for waiting on me. Thank You for giving me another chance, thank You for cleaning up the mess I made, thank You for covering me when I didn’t deserve it.”