Use Good Deeds to Make God Like You!
Do you ever fall into the trap of believing good deeds increase your favor with God? We are approaching Good Friday in a few weeks when we celebrate Jesus’s sacrifice. On that day, Jesus put the final touch on the masterpiece of His life of good deeds. As the Son of God died, the veil separating people from the holiest place in the Jewish Temple was torn from top to bottom. A sign God removed the barrier separating us—even making His dwelling place with man.
Now, believers in Jesus gain His favor with God and are sealed with the Holy Spirit. Time and again God expresses grace, showing perfection isn’t a requirement for intimacy with Him—only accepting Jesus’s payment for our debts.
“… your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”
—1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV
Glorify God In Your Body
Good deeds still play a role in our life, even though they can’t make God love us more. 1 Peter 2:11-12 calls us to put off our old ways and our good deeds will cause the world to glorify God. All humanity is capable of “good deeds”, so how will ours draw the world to God? What separates followers of Christ from the world is the Spirit of God dwelling within.
Initially, when I read good deeds I think of righteous acts, but that’s not helpful. God’s people’s righteousness was tainted by sin like filthy rags in Isaiah 64:5-6. Not to mention Jesus said no one is good except God (Mark 10:18), showing our understanding of good is a distortion of the word’s essence. These good deeds which represent Him are a different sort than we are capable of on our own. After all, only God is good.
Our position in Christ makes way for a new definition of good deeds though. Jesus has washed us as white as snow. God reveals the fulfillment of our holiness when He moved out of the temple and into our hearts. Like the Holy of Holies, we are sanctified—set apart for Him. Since God lives within us, the way to do good deeds is simply to follow the Spirit’s leading (Romans 8:9-14).
Follow His Lead and He Will Perform Good Deeds Through You
Does this mean to stop doing what you think is right while waiting to hear His still small voice? No, but check your motives to see if they are of the flesh or of the Spirit. I’ve been guilty of doing “good deeds” because I want approval, to appear righteous, or to ease a burden not from Jesus. But I should be motivated by loving God and loving my neighbor as myself. In the power of the Spirit and not my own.
One of my goals for us at God and you and me is to see people how Christ sees them. God said He has good plans for us, right? But I wonder how often people fulfill those plans. Still, it doesn’t shake His love for the whole world. He continues to see something in us. Something we often fail to see in ourselves and others.
But the malaise of unfulfillment weighs on every person and combines with a sense of failing to be good enough. Pushing people up against guilt, condemnation, and every anxiety the enemy brings to us. He attempts to take our eyes off Jesus with questions of if our good deeds will outweigh the bad.
But does this amount to God not loving (or even liking) the world? No, we know despite our insufficiency, Christ made a way for us to have peace with God.
Show the World God’s Love
If God’s people, performing good deeds through the power of the Holy Spirit, approach the world with hope… If we come bearing good news… Saying God loves you as His child—perfectly. He knows you, and even with your sin and imperfections He never stops loving you. His generosity falling on you is without repentance. How compelling is that!?
The world needs to see God move through us and not our own good deeds. They need to hear His message: God sees, knows, loves, and has good plans for you. Most unbelievers think God doesn’t like them—even a lot of believers think that. So share the love. Show them Jesus did all the good deeds required to enter into a relationship with God. Practice obedience to the Spirit, seeing people with God’s eyes, and speaking those words the Prince of Peace whispers in your heart.