Pleasing God or Trusting God?

October 1, 2012

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Which is better? To work at pleasing God or to focusing on trusting God?

Where should we focus more of our attention and effort?

In their book, The Cure: What If God Isn’t Who You Think He Is And Neither Are You, Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and John S. Lynch explore this tension.

The Cure is part teaching, part allegory in the style of Pilgrims Progress. The book begins with the traveler facing two different forks in the road, one leading to Trusting God and the other to Pleasing God. Take a look at the description:

“I look up at the Trusting God sign. This has to be a trap, a trick question. It sounds good, but it doesn’t give me anything to do. It’s too passive. How will I make a difference? If God and I are going to be in sync, there’s got to be something more than trust. If the issue is me, I’m probably not going to future out my destiny simple by trusting God.

So I set off on the path of pleasing God.”

As the traveler approaches the building near the end of the pleasing God path, he see’s a banner across the front reading, “Striving hard to be all that God wants me to be.” You enter through the door of “Self Effort” and find yourself in “The Room of Good Intentions” Inside this room, the artwork proclaims, “Working on my sin to achieve an intimate relationship with God.”

As the traveler spends time in “The Room of Good Intentions”, he begins to question the choice of paths.

“The comfort I felt when I got here is fading. I’m carrying this tension, like if I don’t measure up, I’ll be shunned…Despite all my passionate sincerity, I keep sinning. Then I get fixated on trying not to sin. Then it all repeats: Same sin, same thoughts, same failure.”

“Increasingly, the path to pleasing God seems to be about how I can keep God pleased with me.”

The authors sum up this portion of the allegory by saying:

“When we embrace the path to this room (pleasing God through avoiding sin and having good intentions), we reduce godliness to a formula.”

More right behavior + less wrong behavior = Godliness.

Zippity the Hamster Exercising in His Wheel

It sounds like a “hamster-wheel effect“. A whole lot of effort, but not a lot of progress.

What do you think? Have you found yourself identifying with this pilgrims journey. Maybe not every day, but on the day’s we are not trusting God, do we quickly return to trusting in ourselves to please God?

Not convinced, check Part 2, where we journey with the traveler down the fork called “Trusting God.

 

This is Part 1 of a 3 part review of The Cure. All quotes taken from this book, copyright 2011
More information can be found at www.trufaced.com
I have received no compensation for this review, although some links are affiliate.

Photo By : Jim Capaldi

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Chris

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A missionary teacher for 24 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God