All he had to do is look at me and I would dissolve into tears. As a young child, if I went against my parents’ wishes I would endure the consequences of my disobedience. By the time I was in elementary school, all my dad had to do is look at me when I messed up and I would start crying.
I wasn’t crying because I got caught and would be disciplined, but because I had disappointed one of the people I respected and loved the most. Knowing I caused my father disappointment brought sorrow to my little heart.
Because I had such great respect and admiration for Dad, I wanted him to accept and find pleasure in my actions. When I failed, it deeply saddened me. In reality, Dad always loved and accepted me, but he definitely did not find pleasure in all I did. I messed up a lot as a kid. That look of disappointment in his eyes did more to bring repentance than physical discipline did.
As much as Dad loved me and as much as I respected him, that relationship pales in comparison to the one with my Heavenly Father. My desire is to not disappoint God, but for Him to find pleasure in the work of my hands, the words of my mouth, and the thoughts on which I meditate. My plumb line for this attitude is Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
Our pastor recently taught on Philippians 2:12-13, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” The phrase “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” jumped out at me. Our pastor addressed the meaning to confirm I was interpreting it correctly. We don’t work FOR our salvation, but we work it out by taking what is on the inside and manifesting it in our lives. The part that really jumped out was the fear and trembling section.
We read where we are not to walk in fear, but in power and love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). The fear and trembling in Philippians relate more to what I described in my relationship with my earthly father. I did not want to disappoint him. When I did, I really did tremble and cry. I want to please my Heavenly Father as I learn to walk out in wisdom what He has placed inside me. To walk in that wisdom, I need to mediate on Scripture so it becomes a part of me. Jesus said it best in Matthew 6:45b, “…for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
My heart’s desire is to walk a life that pleases God…one that doesn’t disappoint. My prayer is that when I go to heaven, I hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:22). Is that your heart’s desire too?