God is love. Without the love of God we are truly nothing. His love defines us.
We have watered down the goodness of God to a distorted perception of what goodness truly looks like. In the word, God allows for the fact that we in our goodness give with limits, but he is infinitely good. And our perception of who He is and how He operates directly affects how we view ourselves and our spirituality.
I used to experience the condescending reprimands of people as very humbling and almost cleansing. I was under the impression that I could attain an ideal place of right standing with God if I could fix everything that was considered wrong with me – improve every aspect that didn’t measure up to my idea of His nature. I was stuck with the mentality that God would retaliate our disobedience with physical and circumstantial punishment. I contemplated that God would not be good to me if I didn’t follow His rules obediently and militantly. I actually believed myself liberated when I had been corrected and felt better for it. In reality, I was endeavoring to please man. The smile and acknowledging nod after completing a task at a satisfactory level served to solidify my worth and establish that I had, in fact, grown and excelled. I interpreted the praise from people as approval from God. Unfortunately, these people didn’t stay pleased for long. Soon, I would find myself spiraling down a very dark hole of confusion, second guessing myself and wondering where I had gone wrong and offended God. I knew I had given my all, yet I still fell short of everyone’s expectations of me. Failure after failure after yet another failure caused me to not know who I was or even who I wanted to be. I thought I knew what God expected of me, and yet, after being all of this awesome me, I still only saw disappointment in their eyes. The problem was that I bought into the lie. I allowed people to have influence over my heart and destiny by accepting their judgement of my performance (based on their opinions) as a determination of my worth. I think it goes without saying that I rapidly grew into a very fearful and timid person. Overly sensitive to what people said, over analyzing every word they spoke and the way it was spoken. I was furtively trying to find some solid ground to plant my feet on and grow from. I was ever the victim, caught unawares, suffering at every word spoken to me, no longer able to discern the good from the bad. It was all bad to me, because I couldn’t seem do anything right or regain some foothold of certainty. My only desire was to see God in His fullness and experience more of Him. I just wanted Him, managing to get only a good dose of self.
Exodus 33:16 For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?”
17 And the LORD said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favour in my sight, and I know you by name.”
18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.”
19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you.”
Notice that God’s answer was in showing Moses His nature. Moses inquired how it would be known that he had found favor in God’s sight and God replied that He knew Moses by name. As a sign that He was present and that the children of God had an unmistakable identity, God provided them with His goodness as surety. This goes to say that the goodness of God represents the very essence of who He wants to be for us. An image we can find certainty in. When we can distinguish that He is a good God, and that His will for us is to thrive and never to suffer, and that His every intention is pure and beneficial, we begin operating and responding from a place of good intentions. It is only the goodness of God that can lead us and others to repentance. Acting from a place of mistaken identity is the only way we can allow self doubting and stubborn thoughts to have power over us.
God came, in His unfailing patience and goodness, and touched my heart. He kindly reminded me of who He is. He is only good. Can He actually be anything but good? As He started revealing to me who He is and who He wants to be to me, He inadvertently expressed His image through me. I realized, then, that His is an image of already accomplished righteousness and holiness. The pitfall is that we are always striving to become, instead of merely being. We tend to have a seriously distorted perception of our identity in God. To me, He stressed the fact that finding my identity in Him did not lie in realizing what I could be and do, but in who I already was because of the in-habitation of His spirit in me. Our identity is found in Him and He is in us. He enables me. He sanctifies me. He enamors me. He doesn’t merely do these things because I decide to pray at night, or because I felt the need to intercede for my day. No. It is a perpetual state of being in Him, and He in us. I am holy. I am strong. I succeed. I overcome and I am clean. We were created looking like Him. What does God look like to me? He is only good.
I pray that God will guide you to a place where His goodness becomes the source you decide to draw from in every area of your life. May His unfailing love be the compass that directs your heart and His heartbeat dictate your actions. May you find yourself submerged in His good intentions and drowning in His limitless supply of affection and adoration for who you are, right now. Realize that there is no level of holiness that needs be reached. He loves you now. He is in you just as you are. He is speaking and encouraging you – directing you to good works.
He has always loved you.
This is your identity: the child of a loving God.