Personal Satisfaction in Glorifying God

I had the privilege to help a man who had driven several hundred miles with the hope that I could help him resolve the conflicts going on in his life and home. He was a “successful” man — a superintendent of a public school district. He attended church regularly and appeared to be a pillar of the community. But he was struggling with compulsive thoughts, explosive anger and incredible nightmares that left him depleted every morning. Within hours we were able to resolve his personal and spiritual conflicts and he found his freedom in Christ. He waited several months before he sent me the following letter. He wanted to be sure that what happened would last.

I never really understood the relationship God wanted to have with me. I saw God as an omnipotent but distant and stern father. You helped me realize that God is like a real father in how He loves me, meaning that He wants me to enjoy His presence and live a fulfilling life on this earth. I used to see Him as an aloof disciplinarian, a benevolent disciplinarian, but nevertheless a disciplinarian. I knew that I was to have a personal relationship with Him, but I had no way of knowing what that meant.

I equated my own earthly father’s attitude toward a father/son relationship to the kind of kinship that would be appropriate between God and myself. I was wrong. God not only wants to see me obediently happy, but He also takes joy in my accomplishments. I have struggled with my purpose in life. What did it matter whether I achieved anything? If all my achievements were the result of God’s will, and all the credit belonged to Him, it followed in my small mind that I was nothing but a non-efficacious vessel of the Almighty.

Of course I was willing to accept that concept, as I believed it to be biblical. But I was wrong, and I was basing my belief system on a non-scriptural foundation. My downfall was inevitable. There was no way I could experience joy with this belief. Humility was very important to me, but it meant taking no personal satisfaction for a job well done. Without some sort of personal satisfaction for one’s endeavors, much of life is missed, and God does not want this. He wants me to do good things and take pleasure in doing them well. Just as an earthly father is pleased when his son does well, so too is God pleased when His children do His will.

This revelation instilled a great deal of meaning in my life. I now have a new concept of God’s love and my place in His divine plan. I have meaning, and what I do has meaning. I can take pleasure in doing good things without risking the sin of pride. Now I see the truth — that God is a loving and caring Father. He gave me a will that I am supposed to use to glorify Him, and that is exactly what I intend to do.

Dr. Neil

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