Getting on God's Good Side

 
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Who doesn't want to take a shortcut? Who isn't looking for a new life hack? Who wouldn't want directions that help to navigate the hard path? Who doesn't want to be the best possible version of themselves? Who doesn't want someone to show them how to reach the goal, develop good qualities, achieve true happiness, and avoid getting on God's bad side?

The False Messiah’s Field-Guide

What side of God are we prepared to meet today? Are we prepared every day, every minute, every second to initiate action, execute the plan, and do what needs doing to get on God's good side? What is each of us doing every day, every minute, every second to make it happen?

Open a book and read about what needs to be done. Debate with each other about how it needs to be done. Focus on making yourself who the Christian God wants each one of us to be: self-disciplined, stronger in faith, more humble, more in control of our words and actions, consistent in prayer, sincere in praise, and thankful we didn't get on God's bad side today.

But, maybe some of us are weak. Maybe we're lazy. Maybe we're frustrated, negative, and short-tempered. Maybe we're just soft. We lack will-power. We lack discipline. We lack drive. We don't realize that all our weaknesses can be turned into strengths by God if we would just stop procrastinating and accept that who we are isn't who God wants us to be.

But, with God's help, none of us is doomed to be that same person forever. God will give us the strength to fight those weaknesses, and flaws, and faults if we will only strive, with the help of God's grace, to be better today than we were yesterday.

With the help of God's grace we can embrace our problems, then we'll be more effective. With the help of God's grace we can relieve the stress, then we'll be able to go the extra distance for God. But, don't stop. Never stop. Don't ever think any of us has had enough. Don't give in to weaknesses. Instead, pray God will give each of us the strength to attack them even harder so that when we go to bed we can rest, knowing another day is done and we've done our best for God, and God knows, God sees when we are relentless in our desire to stay on His good side.

Of course, with these goals, our doing is never finished. We can't allow ourselves to be out of control. We can't hide from our fears. We can't choose the easy path. We can't give in to short-term gratification. No cheat days. No vacation. No let-up. God won't accept weakness. God won't tolerate a breakdown in our commitment. God stands in the path, prepared to meet each of us and encourage us to take the hard road, the one that leads to well-earned heavenly rewards.

We must never stop asking ourselves, "Is this everything I can give?" "Is this the best I can do?" "Why can’t I be better for God today than yesterday?" "Have I asked myself the difficult questions that lead to the tough answers, that put me on the hard road, the one that leads to well-earned heavenly rewards?"

So, that's it. Everything written above is what each of us needs to read from the false messiah's field guide to being a good Christian. That's everything we need to glean from the false prophets' playbook. Trust God. Do our best. Stay on God's good side and at the right time, we'll get those hard-earned heavenly rewards.

The Truth about God’s Good Side

But, we don't have that kind of time. We don't need that kind of time. Sure, we like to believe we've got time but that's a lie. We like to believe that if we do our best, God will help us help ourselves. That's a lie too. But, how do we stop the lies? The Truth. The Truth will set us free. The Truth will deliver us from the downward spiral that comes with doing our best for God.

There are no shortcuts with Him. No life hacks. No tricks or changes we need to make to get on God’s good side. There’s just Truth, just Jesus.
— Donavon Riley

The Truth, Jesus, burns down the lies. He doesn't make our dreams come true. He's not a self-help guru, motivational speaker, or Zen monk. He's not here to tell us He's going to help us live our best life now. There are no shortcuts with Him. No life hacks. No tricks or changes we need to make to get on God's good side. There's just Truth, just Jesus.

Only the person, who apart from doing His best, believes much in Jesus, is on God's good side. Jesus is on God's good side. He's at the right hand of the Father, the right hand of grace and forgiveness.

Doing our best doesn't get us on God's good side. Not that we do nothing, but doing our best does not get us on God's good side. Instead, Jesus gets us on God's good side. He gets us on God's good side without any of our doing.

When we do our best, when we work, the doing and the works aren't our own, but instead God's doing and works. None of us will be justified in God's sight by doing our best because a person is justified by faith apart from works of the law" (Rom. 3:28).

We do nothing to get on God's good side. Doing our best won't get us on God's good side. Why should it? Our doing and works aren't our own; they are God's. So, focus on Jesus. Focus on His cross. Focus on His doing and works. Pay attention to where He gives Himself to us in words, water, bread, and wine so that we can say, "Jesus is my wisdom, and righteousness, and forgiveness, and holiness, and works. I am His instrument. I am His vessel."

Don't listen to the false messiahs who teach us to save ourselves. Don't accept the false prophets' sugar-coated lies. They're stupid and meaningless. Instead, focus on Jesus Christ crucified for the sin of the world. His death gets us on God's good side. His resurrection delivers the grace and forgiveness of God to us in words, water, bread, and wine. Jesus' death and resurrection clear the way for God to work in us. Every other path, every other possibility, is rejected. With Jesus, we don't have to worry about whether we're on God's good side. With Jesus, we're always on God's good side, the side of grace and forgiveness.

His death gets us on God’s good side. His resurrection delivers the grace and forgiveness of God to us in words, water, bread, and wine.
— Donavon Riley

All our good works are good, too, because they're not our works, they're Jesus' works in us, and He's always good. His work is always good. So, now we can say to the false messiahs and prophets, "I hear what you're saying, but no thanks. I'm justified apart from works. I'm justified by the blood of Jesus, my Messiah. I'm good."

Donavon Riley is a Lutheran pastor, conference speaker, author, Online Content Manager for Higher Things, a contributing writer for 1517, Christ Hold Fast, and LOGIA. He is also the co-host of The Banned Books podcast and the As Lutheran As It Gets podcast.



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