Is God ‘Selfish’?

by Lester Young

We’ve always been told it’s good to do God’s will. Additionally, we’ve typically been taught that actually desiring His will somehow also makes us better, more “spiritual” people. And since God the Creator is Who He is and we are who we are, most Christians generally don’t bother to try to challenge the point too much – and wisely so. I don’t, either. After all, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Himself said that we should “seek first [God’s] Kingdom and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33), which is basically the exact same thing.

That being said, I’m going to “think out loud” and let you in on a very private thought that’s crept through my mind in the past, foolish though it may sound: Does it seem a little ‘selfish’ of God to demand that we seek out and do His will before we even think about our own? I mean, He’s God, so of course He should be worshiped. But, because He’s God, is He just insisting on that because He wants to be worshiped before He’ll do anything for us? You know what I mean? No? C’mon, so… so nobody else has ever had any kinds of thoughts like that… it was always just me, huh? Yeah… okay.

Let me just be clear by saying it’s been quite a number of years since that particular thought has dared to set foot anywhere near my gray matter. And since that time I’ve come to realize what all the rest of you have apparently already known from the beginning (since it’s only me who’s goofy enough to ever have thoughts like that… mhm, yep!): that those types of thoughts can only come from looking at God through a purely human perspective and by not knowing what His Word says.

It’s probably not too difficult to understand that we can judge and weigh people by God’s standards of rightness and wisdom, but we can’t really do the reverse (2 Corinthians 2:14-15). Human perspectives are woefully inadequate for judging God, because our natural opinions are hampered by an inherent lack of knowledge. We’re not privy to everything God knows, so there’s really no way of forming a correct opinion about His thoughts or actions – not until we know what He knows. In other words, when thinking about God we always need to keep in mind that there’s more going on than meets the eye. So jumping to conclusions or forming opinions based solely on physical appearances – that is, partial information – is nothing more than a red-letter invitation to pick the wrong answer (2 Corinthians 10:7).

And that’s where knowing His Word – i.e., what God has already said – comes in. Being intimately familiar with God’s Word brings tremendous insight into His will because of the sheer fact that they’re One and the same. God’s Word tells us exactly what He wants. But it doesn’t just stop there: it also tells us exactly why He wants it.

If you spend any real time at all studying God’s Word, you’ll eventually begin to realize that what God wills – what He truly wants above all else – can be expressed in just one sentence: He wants a family that He can love and fellowship with on His own level. It’s what He’s always wanted. That was His Plan from the very beginning, and God never changes (Malachi (3:6). Why do you think He created everything in the first place… and then made a man in His own likeness to give it all to? (Genesis 1:26-28, 3:8; John 16:15; Romans 4:13) Remember that God is Love, and Love gives: it’s just inherently what It does, period. It simply has to: it’s how He expresses Himself! (1 John 4:8, 16; John 3:16-17)

Look at what God’s given us: read the blessings of Deuteronomy 28:1-14 (the description of the Blessing of Abraham as noted in Galatians 3:14). Now remember John 10:10, where Jesus said, “I have come that [you] might have life, and that [you] might have it more abundantly.” And by no means should we forget 2 Peter 1:3-4, which boldly declares that “[God’s] divine power has [already] given to us (past tense) all things that pertain to [both] life and godliness”… and that “we’re also made partakers of [His] divine nature.” Take a good, long look at all we’ve been given: it literally is everything!

That’s God’s will. And notice it really doesn’t name Him as the recipient of any benefits, does it? It’s all about us: about giving us an abundant life and existence both now and throughout eternity – an eternity spent with Him, the loving Father of His family. And if that’s not enough, God’s Word says He’s going to occupy Himself going forward – forever! – by showering us with the exceeding grace of His kindness! (Ephesians 2:7) Doesn’t sound very ‘selfish’ to me.

Once we begin to understand what God’s ‘will’ really is, the notion of a Diety Who just wants to be worshiped because He’s a Diety” quickly unravels. God wants us to seek and do His will because His will is for us to live a victorious, overcoming and abundant life – both now and forever. God’s will for us is so much greater, grander and better than even our own will for ourselves (Isaiah 55:7-9; Ephesians 3:17-20). But He knows it will only happen if we choose the “good” paths He’s already laid out for us to walk in (Ephesians 2:10). He’s already made the way of abundant life for us. His Salvation in Christ Jesus is the Way of abundant life for us – there is no other (John 10:10, 14:6). And that’s why God would very much like for us to choose to do it His way: it’s the only way that actually works (Deuteronomy 30:19).

 

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