According to a Gallup poll of 1,000 employees, only half of them confidently knew exactly what was expected of them at work. [See https://tinyurl.com/y226ujfr] Can you relate? Maybe you’ve had a job where you felt that way. It just wasn’t clear what was expected of you. If so, then you know how difficult it is. You don’t know whether you are succeeding or failing at work. You might be showing up on time, working as hard as you can, and still not doing what the boss is expecting you to do. You have this nagging feeling that your boss could show up at any time and fire you because, according to him, you aren’t doing your job.
I think you will agree that it is even more important to have a clear idea of what God expects of you. After all, eternity is a long time. Too often I have heard people say something like, “Well, to me I think that if you do your best, God will accept you.” That’s a nice idea, but is it true? Even if it is true, have we really ALWAYS done our best? How can we know when “our best” is really good enough?
What exactly does God expect of us? There could be no greater tragedy than to discover too late that we failed to understand what God wants. Jesus warned us about this in Matthew 7:13-14.
Thankfully, we don’t have to wonder. God has told us in His Word exactly what He expects from us. Let’s discover together what His expectations are.
From the very beginning of mankind’s existence, God told us why He made us. “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27). In other words, God created Adam and Eve (and then the rest of us) to reflect who He is. Pastor John Piper explains it this way: “The point of being created in the image of God is that human beings are destined to display God. That’s what images do.”
What does God expect from us? I’ll be more specific in a minute, but in general, God expects and deserves our giving honor and glory to Him. We do that by believing that He is supremely valuable and important. God deserves it (see Revelation 5:11-12), and we were made to display it.
The Bible makes it very clear that our purpose in life is to give glory to God. We know this because God refers to His followers as those who are “… called by My name, and whom I have created for My glory…” (Isaiah 43:7). We should give glory to God because “from [God] and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36).
If you think about it, glorifying God and trusting His gift of forgiveness are the exact opposites of highlighting our own goodness, or hard work, and assuming we can make ourselves acceptable to Him.
What then does God expect from us? It is actually very simple. He asks us to “confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). This salvation is made possible because “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us…” (Galatians 3:13).
God wants us to agree that our sin has separated us from Him and that no amount of goodness or effort on our part that could ever restore our relationship with Him. That’s why it is only “by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9).
Again, I go to Pastor Piper: “The ultimate difference between God’s wisdom and man’s wisdom is how they relate to the glory of God’s grace in Christ crucified. God’s wisdom makes the glory of God’s grace our supreme treasure. But man’s wisdom delights in seeing himself as resourceful, self-sufficient, self-determining, and not utterly dependent on God’s free grace.”
The Bible clearly states how we can know what God expects. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil” (Proverbs 3:5–7).
Now that you know what God expects from you, are you clinging to Jesus as your supreme treasure or are you still depending on your own ideas about knowing God?
The Apostle Paul began his adult life as an arrogant, hateful religious leader, but later, when he met Jesus, his heart was changed and humbled. He then said, “May it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ….” (Galatians 6:14).